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Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Thursday, 12 April 2012 10:32 UK

Hospitals 'under pressure on admissions targets'

Health officials are to look into figures suggesting many hospital patients in England are being discharged in the middle of the night. Hospitals that responded to a freedom of information request from The Times revealed that almost 240,000 patients had been sent home overnight in the past year.

Dr Mark Porter, a consultant anaesthetist and chairman of the British Medical Association's consultants' committee, told the Today programme's Evan Davis that hospitals are under tremendous pressure to meet admission targets.

"Sometimes overnight is one of our most seriously pressurised moments, because of course patients are coming through the emergency department, they require emergency care, but in addition to that they require - according to the various targets that are rigorously and strenuously enforced in hospitals - they have to be moved through in a certain time.

"Now, if at that time it's actually difficult to discharge patients, the pressures grow to become enormous."

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