Patients stuck in A&E for up to 46 hours – the number of hospitals recording A&E stays of more than 20 hours has doubled in just one year

Patients are being forced to endure stays of up to two days in Accident & Emergency departments amid a growing crisis as NHS beds run out. A Telegraph investigation discloses that the number of hospitals admitting to A&E delays of at least 20 hours has doubled in just one year.

The figures show that this winter, one in three NHS trusts recorded times at least this long – with some patients stuck in casualty units for as long as 46 hours.

The previous year, one in six trusts had patients whose time in A&E exceeded 20 hours, the Freedom of Information disclosures show. Charities said the revelations were “alarming” and “extraordinary” and evidence of a growing crisis, with hospitals now regularly running out of beds as they became crammed with patients.

Levels of “bed-blocking” reached a record high this winter, with rising numbers of elderly people stuck on hospital wards because of a lack of social care services to help them at home. Latest published figures show hospital occupancy levels reached a record high in the last three months of last year – at 89.5 per cent. The recommended safe maximum is 85 per cent, to reduce the risk of infection, but some hospitals reached levels of 99.5 per cent in the run-up to Christmas, it can be disclosed.

Full story in The Telegraph 26 April 2015