Each day 34 patients who are fit to be discharged are taking up beds at Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, figures show.

A report published last year by the Care Quality Commission found "too much ineffective coordination" of health and social care services in England.

With elderly patients often stuck waiting to be signed off, there is concern over the impact delays can have on their health.

According to the NHS, a hospital stay of more than 10 days for a person over 80 can lead to 10 years of muscle ageing.

NHS England figures show that in August, patients at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust spent a total of 1,068 days waiting to be discharged or transferred to a different care facility.

That's equivalent to three years of waiting time.

A delayed transfer of care occurs when a patient remains in a bed after being officially declared safe for transfer by both a doctor and a multidisciplinary team, which could include social or mental health care workers.

The remainder of the trust's delays were caused by problems from both the sectors.

Delays in transferring a patient between wards, or from one acute hospital to another, are not included.

Kate Terroni, chief inspector of adult social care for the CQC, said: “We found positive outcomes for older people when leaders in local health and care organisations worked well together.

“But we also found too much poor practice where a lack of co-ordination and co-operation between services had led to fragmented care and badly affected people’s experiences.

"When people can’t access the services they need, the risk is that they are pushed into inappropriate care settings and stay there for too long rather than accessing the care they need within their community."

Across England, an average of 4,802 beds were blocked each day in August 2019, resulting in a total of 148,872 delayed days – equivalent to just under 408 years of lost time.

At Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, bed blocking has fallen, from 45 beds each day in August 2018 to 34 this year.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “So far this year there have been 14,000 fewer bed days lost than last year, and the average number of people delayed every month has fallen by almost 100.

"Thanks to the hard work of NHS and social care staff over the last two and a half years considerably fewer people now experience a delay in leaving hospital, with the number of delayed discharges 28 per cent lower in August 2019 than it was at its peak."