Over 14,000 hospital beds in England filled with patients fit to leave last week, NHS figures show

It comes after ministers had pledged earlier this month to help ease the burden on NHS hospitals, ITV News' Health and Science Editor Emily Morgan reports

More than 14,000 hospital beds in England last week were filled with people who were fit to leave, according to NHS figures

The number had fallen from a record 63% in the week to January 1, but the total - an average of 14,036 beds - was still the second highest ever recorded.

It comes after ministers had pledged earlier this month to help ease the burden on hospitals by spending up to £200 million for thousands of extra care home beds.

The funding, which was announced by Health Secretary Steve Barclay, committed to buying short-term placements in community settings, including care homes, to fund stays of up to four weeks per patient until the end of March.

However, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has argued the strategy "won’t make a difference" without halting the "exodus" of staff.

Data also showed ambulance handover delays outside hospitals in England have fallen to their lowest level this winter.

A total of 23% of ambulance patients waited at least 30 minutes last week to be handed to A&E teams, down from 36% the previous week - the figure hit a record 44% in the week to January 1.

Meanwhile, the number of flu patients in hospital has fallen by more than a third in a week.

It was one of the biggest news stories of our time - and it's still not over. So what did Boris Johnson know about Downing Street’s notorious parties? With fresh revelations from our Number 10 sources, in their own words, listen to the inside story...

An average of 3,447 flu patients were in hospital beds each day last week, down 35% from 5,262 during the seven days to January 8.

The trend has led to suggestions that the current wave of infections may have peaked.

NHS England’s national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said: "These figures show that the NHS remains under significant pressure - with near record highs of people in hospital who are medically fit to leave and a high number of beds occupied in hospitals across England.

"The NHS has done extensive preparation for this winter - rolling out extra beds, falls services and nationwide 24/7 control centres to track and manage demand.

"The public can also help by using the best services for their condition - 999 in an emergency and otherwise 111 online, and there is still time to getting vaccinations if eligible."