Patients having to stay in hospital longer are putting more pressure on an NHS already struggling with Covid-19 and the waiting list backlog.
"We've just tipped over the point where delayed discharges are a bigger problem than Covid," said one hospital boss who asked not to be named.
"We have around 100 beds blocked and we are seeing domiciliary care providers handing dozens of patient care packages back to the council as they don't have staff to deliver them," said another.
A third manager had 140 patients ready to leave hospital, but explained that the carer shortage meant "patients are dying in hospital when their choice was home, a hospice or nursing home".
The anonymous comments from more than 20 hospital bosses were gathered from NHS Providers in response to a BBC request for information.
The organisation's deputy chief executive, Saffron Cordery explained that the delays are particularly worrying as winter is about to put extra pressure on services.
Not being able to leave hospital when they are ready can delay a patient's recovery and rehabilitation, said Ms Cordery.