Winter crisis grips the NHS as 15 hospitals listed as having no spare beds on at least one day

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Hospital beds are at the heart of the NHS winter crisis (Photo: Getty)

Fifteen hospitals had no spare beds on at least one day recently, shock figures reveal.

Beds on general and acute wards at two NHS trusts were full for four days running, according to latest statistics.

Daily situation reports lay bare the scale of the winter crisis already gripping the NHS.

And they outline how sick patients face being ferried to other hospitals or stuck on trolleys in corridors as medics and bosses fight to find them space.

Some of the worst hit trusts include the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Essex and the Hillingdon Hospitals Trust in London.

Neither had spare general and acute beds for four days running, according to the NHS’s own figures.

And eight trusts reported “serious operational problems” during the first week of the month.

Some patients have to be transported to other hospitals (Photo: Getty Images)

The statistics were published as part of NHS England’s winter daily situation reports, which began on December 1.

The NHS website says: “Daily SitReps are collected from acute trusts each weekday during winter and indicate where there are any winter pressures on the service around the country such as A&E closures and diverts or bed pressures.”

Fresh updates are due to be made public.

Figures show the number of beds a hospital has on a given day, and how many beds were occupied.

The bulletin reveals the chronic pressure being piled on the struggling NHS, which suffers the knock-on effects of the crisis gripping social care.

Bed-blocking, where patients cannot be discharged from hospital even though they have got better, adds greater demand on stretched hospitals, doctors and nurses.

Hospital bosses can flag up mounting pressure using an official scale, triggering alerts.

Princess Alexandra Hospital in Essex (Photo: Googlemaps)

Eight trusts dotted around the country, including Chesterfield Royal Hospital, East Lancashire Hospitals and Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust, reported “operational pressures escalation level” of three or higher.

The NHS defines level three as “the local health and social care system is experiencing major pressures compromising patient flow and continues to increase”.

It adds: “Actions taken in OPEL 2 have not succeeded in returning the system to OPEL 1.

“Further urgent actions are now required across the system by all A&E Delivery Board partners, and increased external support may be required.”

The findings will again spark calls for quicker action and fresh cash to tackle the growing crisis in the NHS and social care.

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: “The chronic lack of spare beds in our hospitals is a sign of a health and care system in crisis.

“This must serve us a wake-up call to the Government.

“Patients this winter will suffer from delays and sub-standard care unless the NHS and social care are given the cash injection they so desperately need.”