Thousands of elderly people face being kicked out of care homes as providers across the country closed down, according to TheMirror.
The number of private caregivers handing back local authority contracts has more than tripled in 22 months and NHS England data showed that 56% of hospital patients fit for discharge cannot leave because there is no social care in place for them.
On an average day, 12,168 patients remained in hospital who no longer met the criteria to be there.
Mirror research shows that in 2019, there were 731 contracts for residential care and care in the community handed back, while in just 10 months last year the figure was 1,939.
4,720 vulnerable adults suffered upheaval and some families were given just 42 hours to find a new home.
The figures, revealed after Freedom of Information requests from the Mirror, suggest 45 care contracts are being handed back by providers each week.
The Care Quality Commission said staff vacancies in care homes were up from 6% in April 2021 to 11.5% in December.
Kate Terroni, of the CQC, said: “Staffing pressures are being felt across all health and care settings. More stability in social care is the key that will unlock improved access and quality for the people who use it – and it will also help ease pressure on the NHS, enabling more people to leave hospital in a timely way when they are medically fit to do so.”
Morgan Vine, of Independent Age, said: “We have been receiving a higher number of calls to our helpline from people in this situation. Increased care home closures illustrate just how much some care providers are struggling.”
The closures are having an impact on the NHS, data showing hospital bed occupancy at 94% and 11 trusts reporting occupancy above 98% last week.
To operate safely, occupancy should be below 85% to cope with spikes.
Miriam Deakin, of NHS Providers, said: “Delayed discharges continue to be an issue, highlighting pressures across the health and care system.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Care staff are working incredibly hard and we are doing everything we can to support them – including through a £462.5 million recruitment fund and expanding the Health and Care Visa scheme to bolster the workforce.
“Over the course of the pandemic, we have made available more than £2.9 billion in specific funding for adult social care.
“More than 55 million PCR and 166 million LFD kits have been delivered to care homes and we have invested a further £478 million to support safe and timely hospital discharges to get patients into the best place for their care and support to continue.”