Video report by ITV News Meridian's John Ryall
Up to 1 in 7 beds at some hospitals in the South are occupied by patients who are fit for discharge but can't leave because the social care they need isn't available.
It's called bed blocking and delays hospital treatment and ambulances.
Patrick Durrant, from East Grinstead, is one of those who has been affected and he spent three weeks in hospital, needlessly.
The former RAF wing commander was diagnosed with dementia two years ago and he was admitted to East Surrey Hospital with a UTI.
Patrick was declared fit to leave after treatment, but three weeks later he was still there.
West Sussex County Council is the relevant social care provider in Patrick Durrant's case.
In a statement, the authority says it can't discuss individual cases but accepts that its social care system is "under significant pressure".
It adds that it does "all that it can to ensure that vulnerable people are supported - with the right care - without having to stay in hospital longer than necessary."