The NHS in England are looking at introducing Hotel Hospitals where people who just need to recover, rather than get treatment could go to get some respite care.
Now the stats they are using for England are talking about 30,000 patients lying in beds recovering rather than being treated when they are needed for other patients. Not my experience – seems that people are often removed to make room before they are ready to come home. I am a huge advocate of the NHS and I think it’s the last century’s greatest contribution to society in the UK, but it is not perfect. Too often I have found that elderly relatives have been discharged before they are ready to go home and therefore are back in the hospital within a week again because they were still ill when discharged.
The price of a “hotel” bed in these types of establishments are around half the price of a regular hospital bed so financially it makes great sense and allows more people the chance to fully recover or wait until alternative housing or homes can be found for them. This is a model that already exists in Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden. These plan are not just for the elderly either as those who need daily cancer treatments, regular dialysis or just for those who have to travel long distances it would offer them a place to stay without it costing them too much.
It appears of the surface like a common sense approach that should be rolled out across not just England but the rest of the UK too. My only concern with it would be that some would see it as an expansion of a hospital and perhaps use it to keep waiting lists down or to skew the figures and have inpatients staying there instead. We know that with the pressure to achieve and reduce statistics hospitals have had to fudge the figures in the past, but this seems like a sensible idea at a time when we need to consider the future with an aging population.