Almost half of NHS trusts have bed occupancy rates that put patients at risk of contracting healthcare-acquired infections, according to the Liberal Democrats.

The party said almost half had occupancy rates of 85 per cent and a quarter had rates of 90 per cent or above.

The party has published a Florence Nightingale charter for cleaner hospitals, including an urgent review of overcrowding on wards, zero tolerance of failures in infection control and putting hospital matrons in charge of hygiene standards.