Busy NHS hospitals: we reveal the 20 NHS trust with the fewest free beds last week. (Image: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg)

NHS crisis: 21 busiest hospitals in England last week revealed - with occupancy rates above ‘safe’ limit

Almost all hospitals in England are surpassing safe limits for bed occupancy - we reveal the NHS trusts under the most pressure.

More than nine out of 10 hospital trusts in England were potentially dangerously busy last week, analysis of the latest NHS England winter pressures data reveals.

NationalWorld’s analysis found 125 out of 134 acute hospital trusts treating adults in England had more than 85% of their general and acute beds occupied in the seven days to 15 January. On average 95.7% of beds were taken across the country at any one time, much higher than the 85% threshold widely considered to be a safe limit.

Twenty hospital trusts reached 100% capacity on at least one day, with all of their beds occupied with patients., while 119 trusts had average occupancy higher than 90% and more than half - 83 trusts - saw occupancy above 95%. The data is based on snapshots taken at 8am every day during winter.

Average occupancy levels ranged from a high of 100% to a low of 37.1% - although this was at the specialist Moorfields Eye Hospital Trust. Excluding trusts that do not have a general purpose, 24-hour A&E treating adults, the least busy was the Wye Valley NHS Trust, with an average of 87% of beds taken - still higher than the recommended limit. You can read more about why hospitals may be unsafe when they are more than 85% full in our full report here.

The data was released the same day as the House of Lords published a damning report declaring a “national emergency” in healthcare and warning “low capacity in hospitals and social care has left the emergency health services gridlocked and overwhelmed, unable to provide safe care”.

The 21 hospital trusts with the highest proportion of beds in the week ending 15 January are listed below.

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