CORONAVIRUS patients at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH) and Shropshire Community Health Trust (Shropcom) spent more than two weeks on an average in hospital at one point last summer, figures suggest.

Patients at SaTH spent 14 days on average, with patients at Shropcom spending 21 days respectively.

Between March and November last year there were 1,215 Covid-19 related admissions to SaTH, with 125 admissions at Shropcom during the same period.

Where figures were available, for SaTH the median stay was longest for patients admitted in July, at 14 days, where as for Shropcom it was in November, for 21 days.

By contrast, patients admitted to SaTH in March spent just three days in hospital on average, with those admitted to Shropcom spending just eight says in hospital in April on average.

However, for both hospitals there were too few patients to calculate a median for one month between March and November.

The Nuffield Trust said national figures up to December showed the median hospital stay – used to exclude extreme values which could skew the average – was seven days for Covid-19 patients.

This is compared to just five days for an average flu patient.

Across England, coronavirus patients discharged in June had the highest median length of stay of 11 days.

Sarah Scobie, deputy director of research at the think tank, added: "Pressure on the NHS is not only from the hundreds of people still being admitted a day, it is also the length of time that Covid patients tend to stay in hospital.

"Longer stays do not only lead to pressure on the NHS, they are also more distressing for patients.

"Covid patients require more intense care, such as help with breathing, and recovery takes more time, so they will occupy hospital beds for longer, requiring more time from stretched care staff."

She added that treatment has improved and the number of cases and deaths have fallen amid the vaccine roll-out.

But she said the NHS is still under significant pressure and the number of Covid-19 patients will remain high for some time due to the large numbers of admissions during the second peak.

Edge Health, which provides data to NHS trusts, said there are many factors which could cause a rise in the average hospital stay.

George Batchelor, co-founder of the organisation, said: "It became both harder to discharge into the community – an attempt to avoid further spreading in care homes – and less urgent to discharge people from hospital that had many available beds.

"It is also important to remember that there has been improvement in treatments that mean some people who would have died quickly are now staying in hospital longer before going home."