More than 300 extra patients were admitted to hospital every week at the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust last year compared to five years ago, figures reveal.

Health experts say there is an "urgent need" for more staff to address a surge in demand in the NHS, driven in part by the increasing number of people living with complex long-term conditions.

NHS Digital data shows 155,555 patients were admitted to hospital at the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in 2018-19. That was 16,533 more than during 2014-15 – the equivalent of 318 extra patients every week.

Across England, hospitals had to deal with almost 24,000 additional admissions every week last year compared to 2014-15.

Over the course of the year, staff saw 17.1 million patients, an increase of 8%.

Richard Murray, chief executive of health think tank the King's Fund, said the evidence suggested a decades-old policy of reducing the number of hospital beds had "gone too far", with more beds and increased investment in the community now needed.

He said: "Critically, if the NHS is to open more hospital beds it will need more people to staff them, but the NHS is already in the grips of a major workforce crisis.

The biggest increase at the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust was among elective admissions – those arranged in advance – which rose by 17% over the five-year period.

Average waiting times faced by patients across the country for an elective admission were a week longer in 2018-19, rising to 61 days.

At the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, average waits increased from 49 to 82 days.

Dr Rob Harwood, consultants committee chair at the British Medical Association, said underfunding, a lack of beds and chronic staff shortages meant doctors and other NHS staff were being placed under undue pressure.

He said: "All of this means more patients face lengthy waits for treatment with too many now forced to wait for hours in uncomfortable conditions in A&E wards or hospital corridors.

“The Government must get a grip of this crisis, and though MPs have promised more funding, the BMA has been clear that the money pledged will not be enough to make up for years of underinvestment."

The organisation called for 10,000 more beds to ease pressure on frontline services, as well as a 4.1% annual funding increase.