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In the last week of August, 138,000 patients were still in hospital more than one week after they had met the criteria for discharge.

So they are healthy enough to come home.

But they are stuck in hospital.

At enormous cost to the NHS, and to themselves. Hospital is not a safe place to stay if you are old and infirm.

An excess bed day in the NHS costs between £2,089 and £2,532 a week for non-elective and elective inpatient.

At the lower cost, the delayed discharge is costing the country £288 billion a year.

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