Turnover time for patients ready to leave Gloucestershire’s hospitals is being cut to three hours to free-up “much needed” beds during the coronavirus pandemic.

In some cases it will mean patients will be placed temporarily in a care home across the county, away from their family, Gloucestershire County Council said.

The authority is working with the local NHS to free-up beds as hospital admissions relating to coronavirus in the county’s two main hospitals is expected to peak later this month.

People who are well enough to come out of hospital but aren’t able to manage at home immediately will be supported by the county council, as well as those who following a stay in hospital have been assessed as having ongoing care needs, but a permanent care package can’t be found.

Councillor Kathy Williams, cabinet member for adult social care at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “We are doing everything we can to support our NHS in the fight against coronavirus.

“That means helping people out of hospital as quickly as possible once they recover, freeing beds for others.

“In some cases, that could mean people are helped to recover in care homes further away from their own homes than normal.

“As no visiting is permitted at present, we hope that patients and their families will understand why we need to do so.”

The authority is also freeing up spaces in its specialist reablement units, Great Western Court and Wheatridge Court in Gloucester, to be used for short term placements for people who are medically stable but not well enough to return home, and for people who need care packages in the community but no provision is available.