The growing NHS crisis has been fuelled by the closure of almost 1,000 care homes housing more than 30,000 pensioners, research suggests.
It comes as NHS figures show the worst Accident & Emergency crisis on record, amid a 37 per cent rise in the numbers stuck in hospital for want of social care, since 2010.
Experts said hospitals were being overwhelmed by the spread of flu because they had almost no spare capacity to cope with surges in demand.
The report by industry analysts shows that in the last decade, 929 care homes housing 31,201 pensioners have closed, at a time when the population is ageing rapidly.
The research from LaingBuisson show care homes going out of business at an ever increasing rate, with 224 care homes closed between March 2016 and March 2017, amounting to more than 2,000 beds.
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