THE number of vacant beds at Warrington Hospital over the Christmas period was slightly lower than the recommended safe amount, figures have revealed.

While the NHS recommends a maximum bed occupancy rate of 85 per cent, Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was 86 per cent full in the week leading up to the New Year.

Between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, 484 of 561 beds were in use on average – including 35 temporary escalation beds.

In total, 22 per cent of beds were occupied by patients who had been in hospital for three weeks or longer while half had been there for more than a week.

Of the 137 NHS trusts in England, only around a dozen met the 85 per cent bed occupancy rate target during the festive period.