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Ministers ponder 'hospital hotels'


The government is considering the idea of “hospital hotels” where elderly patients can recover from illnesses or falls.

The proposals to ease so-called bed-blocking on NHS wards are based on a system used in Scandinavia, where services are run by private hotel chains.

NHS England, the new body responsible for recommending how local doctors’ groups should provide for their patients, has been asked to review the scheme.

Bed-blocking can happen when patients no longer require specialist medical treatment at hospital, but need more support than can be given at home.

An estimated 30,000 patients each year remain in hospital despite being well enough to be discharged.

According to the the Daily Telegraph, health minister Earl Howe said work was being carried out on whether “the Scandinavian model” could help in England.

In a letter to Baroness Greengross, a cross-bench peer who has investigated the issue, Lord Howe said local commissioning groups had “freedom and responsibility” to develop their own “innovative” ways to deal with problems.

“(NHS England) would welcome the opportunity to review this model alongside the suite of other potential best practice resources,” the minister said.

Lady Greengross told the newspaper that some hospitals were already trying a patient hotel system, “but they are not doing it on the scale or as well as Scandinavia”.

Unused NHS buildings on hospital campuses could be converted by hotel companies, she said.

“The idea is that if you go into hospital and you don’t need acute care, which a lot of old people particularly don’t, or you’ve had a difficult pregnancy and you need access to specialist care but you don’t need it most of the time, you are immediately moved out of a hospital to something run by a hotel.

“It is of course much cheaper than being in a hospital. The family can help because they can go in at any time because you’re in a private room.”




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Readers' comments (8)

  • You mean like the convalescence homes and rehab units that we used to have in the good old days of the proper NHS only now it would be private hoteliers that reap the benefit?
    Sounds like luxury, who will pay for it?
    Why not just increase home care?
    Please put my name down on the application form (for a place and also for a job).
    "the family can go in any time because it is private" - families are welcome to go into the NHS ward at any time if they wish to help. if they can go in any time to help then why can't they go into the patients home any time and help?

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  • As a nurse with more than 30 years experience, it seems that we are starting to turn full circle. It used to be accepted that patients went to convalescence homes following an acute stay in hospital. It has been successive governmants in their so called wisdom that have cut the availability of support systems for all patients. Again it will be the private sector that will reap the financial benefit of this'modern idea' and not the patients

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  • Although it might be cheaper than being in hospital this is still an additional cost, the beds that have been 'unblocked' will still be needed.
    Who is being asked to pay for this?
    How long will a patient be able to stay?
    What happens when that particular 'hotel' is full? where will patients go then?
    If people can afford to pay to go into private residential or nursing homes that can we assume they can afford private 'hospital hotels'.
    Am I the only person in the country who is not prepared to be asked to pay even more tax to pay for others?
    Why the fancy name, these are convalescent, respite and residential homes - look up any of the current websites and what you have are very luxurious surroundings which I imagine cost a fortune to build, run and staff.
    Will there even be an NHS in 10 years time when I retire?

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  • We seem to be doing lots of uturns at the moment in the NHS. When I started nursing over twenty years ago , we called them "CONVALESCENCE HOMES". As the previous contributor stated.Those were the days!

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  • Ministers pondering, who'd have thought.

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  • what happens post pondering?

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  • if the new Virgin Atlantic 'Love is in the Air' scheme proves popular this could be extended to Virgin Hospital Hotels which would immediately change the negative perspictive on them amongst some patients! :)

    Already nurses from one hospital have been sent on airline trolley dolly courses so that they can improve services to patients in order to win them over in the competitive world of private hospitals! the face of nursing and its skill base is definitely changing!

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