At the Royal Liverpool Hospital alone 20 patients A DAY leave needing residential care. The threat has come from private care home owners in Liverpool - representing 2,300 of the 3,300 care beds in the city - who say they face closure unless they get more cash from the council.
Arthur Wood, chair of Liverpool Care Homes Association, says that refusing to take any more referrals from the local authority may be the only way forward.
He said: "We have been emphasising this problem and no one has taken any notice.
"We have seen a spate of home closures and we want to ensure this situation is addressed before any more lives are lost or more homes forced to close.
"One option which we are now considering is refusing to take any more referrals from the local authority."
And Joe Campbell, chief executive of English Care, the action group set up to persuade the government to carry out an independent review into the true cost of care, added:
"We believe that by care homes refusing to take any more referrals from the local authority may be the only way we can get the council to listen to us.
"This is not action which we want to take but we feel we have been left with little option."
Hospital chiefs say they could implement emergency measures through their relationship with social services to ensure there was no bed blocking and all elderly people ready for discharge would be found suitable accommodation as quickly as possible.
But a spokesman for the Royal Liverpool admitted that 60 elderly people are discharged every day and a third of them require residential care.
And Cllr Paul Brant, acting leader of the labour party in Liverpool, believes the care homes action would lead to bed blocking disaster with hospitals gridlocked withing a fortnight.
He added: " We need an emergency meeting to renegotiate the rates which are being offered."
However Cllr Jeremy Chowings, executive member for social care and health in Liverpool, who is also a GP said the council and health chiefs in the city are confident that any action which is taken will not have an impact on any potential winter bed crisis.
He added: "We do not want the care homes to take this action. We are in negotiation to pay them for the quality services which we expect."