My last post wrote about NHS England’s whacky ideas about fixing obesity.
Now, here comes another one, this time to solve the bed blocking problem. At any one time there are estimated to be 5,800 patients in hospital beds who don’t need to be there. The problem is they can’t go home because there is nobody to look after them. Especially in winter.
In sunny Southend they have a novel idea —- fill up all the empty B&B’s. It helps the local economy and emptys lots of hospital beds. What could possibly be wrong with that? Throw in a few microwave meals and the occasional phone call from a ‘qualified’ carer and you have a service that is at least as good as the care in Southend hospitals.
I am not making this up, it is a proposal being considered at Southend University Hospitals Foundation. The Care Rooms idea will offer £50 per day/night to people who will provide beds to patients who can’t be discharged home. It would save the NHS money and release a hospital bed for other patients.
Of course it will probably never happen. It is too simple an idea to ever work in the paralysed, burocratic, risk-obsessed world of the NHS. The clinicians will be concerned about infection, because hospitals are so, so clean compared to homes. The trade unions will probably oppose it, because it is privatising the NHS again. The British Medical Association will certainly object, because it is a change and they don’t like any change, unless it means more money for doctors. The army of hospital managers will need several more managers to manage the B&B’s and will also worry about who will be blamed if someone gets ill again and sues the NHS. No-win no-fee lawyers will already be standing at the hospital gates.
Finally, the politicians will kick up a fuss just to get themselves noticed. They will raise all sorts of arguments initially, but leave enough room to claim they were always fully behind these innovative and imaginative proposals if they turn out to be successful.