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Bed occupancy rates averaged 91.7 per cent for England across the week, climbing as high as 93.5 per cent on New Year's Eve.The figure was a stark 2.6 per cent jump on the previous week, when 90.9 per cent of beds were taken up by patients - still above safety guidelines.Many of the patients occupying hospital beds are elderly and medically well enough to go home.But doctors cannot discharge them due to a lack of social care.Patients are believed to be more likely to die from infections or neglect when wards are above the safe level of 85 per cent - a level set by NHS bosses.It is believed that doctors and nurses may not always have time to wash their hands between patients.
Occupancy levels should never exceed the 85 per cent safe level, as above this can have serious health risks, officials warn.Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, warned the NHS is starting 'to buckle under an unbearable level of pressure'.'Hospitals have unsafe levels of bed occupancy.NON-EMERGENCY operations have been cancelled this week, following an edict from NHS bosses.They were: James Paget University Hospitals FT, North Middlesex University Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, FT and Bolton FT.The damning statistics, released yesterday, showed that 12 trusts had no spare beds on New Year's Eve - the last day of the captured NHS data.
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A spokeswoman for Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “As we enter the busiest time of year for the NHS our focus is on ensuring we can care for emergency patients.