NHS discharges patients into ‘care hotels’ to ease bed blocking

Rishi Sunak faces question on NHS crisis

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NHS hospitals are reportedly discharging patients into hotels to meet the demand for hospital beds, a news report has claimed. At least three NHS trusts in the south west of England are using “care hotels” to shift patients who no longer need urgent treatment but require social care, the i Paper has revealed.

According to the report, the discharged patients have to wait for around a month in the hotels before they can receive the care they require in their own homes, or find accommodation in a care home.

Age UK told i that the strategy “underlines just how severe the crisis in social care has become”.

The NHS in Devon has booked rooms to settle up to 40 patients at the Leonardo Hotel in Plymouth.

NHS Devon had originally booked 30 beds in the hotel but it extended the block booking by 10 after signing a deal with its partner hotel in Cornwall to take patients from across the county border.

A spokeswoman for NHS Devon told i: “Care hotels are just one of many positive measures health and care partners have put in place to reduce pressure on busy health services this winter.

“They do not contain hospital patients and are used to provide social care for people who are medically fit and do not require hospital care but do need additional living support after a stay in hospital or to prevent them from needing to be admitted.”

NHS hospitals in Bristol and surrounding areas have also booked hotel accommodation for up to 30 patients until the end of March.

A spokesman for the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board told i: “Local health and care services are under significant pressure and this temporary care facility delivered at a local hotel will help us to improve the flow of patients through our hospitals by ensuring more people can be discharged as soon as they are medically fit to leave hospital.

“Nobody should have to stay in hospital longer than necessary and this facility will ensure more people can be discharged promptly.

“It will also improve the flow of patients through our hospitals while helping to address ambulance handover delays.”

The Bristol hotel is being run by private homecare company Abicare.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak has asked people to hold him to account if NHS waiting lists in England do not fall in two years.

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It is one of five pledges set out in the Prime Minister’s first major speech of 2023, with others including the economy and small boat crossings.

Mr Sunak is facing challenges this winter, including a wave of strike action, a cost-of-living crisis and huge pressure on health services.

But the Prime Minister said he was “taking urgent action” and increasing NHS funding.

He said the Government was also increasing bed capacity and the extra money would help ensure people who are ready to be discharged can be moved into social care or looked after in the community.

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