The NHS will spend hundreds of millions of pounds moving patients into care homes in a bid to ease pressure on A&E wards, according to reports.
Health chiefs believe between 2,000 and 3,000 hospital beds could be cleared, allowing more capacity for urgent care.
It is understood that around 13,000 patients could be discharged from hospital if they could go into some form of residential home, The Sunday Times reported.
It is hoped the move will free-up wards and A&E departments, easing pressure on the health service.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urged health leaders at an emergency meeting to take “bold and radical” action to alleviate the winter crisis in the NHS.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has meanwhile suggested a “constructive approach” to pay negotiations with striking health workers, with increases on the table if the unions will agree to efficiency savings to make higher salaries more “affordable”.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Barclay said workers could get a significant pay boost from April – if staff will accept radical reforms to improve productivity.
“I remain ready to engage with unions on what the Government can do to support the workforce, and I look forward to talking with the trade unions to see how we make any settlement done through the independent pay body more affordable, where there are productivity and efficiency opportunities,” he said.
Mr Barclay earlier pledged to take further steps to “improve the flow through our hospitals” on Monday, with around 13,000 NHS beds blocked by delays in discharging payments.
The Sunday Times reported that an emergency winter pressure package will include a hospital discharge fund for thousands of NHS patients to be moved to care home beds.
Thousands of beds could be block-bought by the Government under the strategy, which is hoped to have an effect within a month.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty and NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard were among those summoned to No 10 for a rare weekend meeting.
Mr Sunak, who found the discussions “highly valuable”, told health and social care leaders he recognised the “tough time” they have experienced over the last couple of years.
“During the pandemic we had to bring boldness and radicalism to how we did things in order to get through,” he said, according to Downing Street.
“I think we need that same bold and radical approach now because a business-as-usual mindset won’t fix the challenges we face.”