The health secretary has announced the government will block-book beds in residential homes so around 2,500 people can be released from hospitals when they are medically fit to be discharged.
Steve Barclay admitted the “experience” for some patients and staff in emergency care has not been “acceptable” in recent weeks.
It comes after he failed to prevent further strikes in the NHS as talks with union bosses broke down.
Despite the prime minister saying he was “happy to talk about pay” – in what was seen as a breakthrough – Unison said there were no “tangible concessions” which would enable Wednesday’s ambulance strikes to be called off.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said ministers “have a distance to travel” to avert its second-ever set of strikes on 18 and 19 January, while Unite said any suggestion that a one-off pay reward could be made in exchange for a boost in productivity was “absolutely ludicrous”.