NHS bosses ponder hospital hotels to ease ward pressure

Nurse giving patient medicine A patient hotel system would take the strain off hospital wards

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Plans for hospital hotels to care for patients who no longer need 24-hour medical care are being considered by NHS managers.

Under the proposals, patients such as the elderly waiting to be discharged, new mothers and stroke patients would recover in hotel-style facilities.

The idea is being reviewed by the new commissioning body, NHS England.

Supporters say the scheme, based on a Scandinavian model, would ease demand on hospital beds.

Patient hotels are common in Scandinavia, especially in Sweden and Norway.

They cater for patients who do not need to be on an inpatient ward, such as couples staying overnight after the birth of a baby or recovering stroke patients.

As well as offering more freedom for patients, the buildings are designed to save money, since a hotel room is cheaper than the price of a hospital bed.

The issue has been investigated by Baroness Greengross, a cross-bench peer.

Start Quote

The patient hotel concept offers advantages to some types of patient...But it may not be appropriate for all patients, and it is important to ensure that it is used only where most clinically and cost effective.”

End Quote Candace Imison The King's Fund

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "Proposals for health hotels were submitted to the department by Baroness Greengross. Ministers have forwarded the proposals to NHS England so they can review them."

NHS England is the new body responsible for overseeing the commissioning of services by local doctors.

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

They include elderly patients waiting for a place in a nursing home or those with dementia.

Some UK hospitals already provide accommodation for patients who need to stay close to hospital premises but do not need constant medical care.

University College London Hospitals (UCLH) provides hotel rooms where patients, such as those needing daily cancer treatment, can stay with relatives near to the hospital.

UCLH says the cost, which is paid for by the NHS, is cheaper than 24-hour hospital care.

According to figures from 2010, the cost of keeping a patient in a hospital bed overnight is more than £300 compared with around half that for a hotel room.

Commenting on the proposals, Candace Imison, The King's Fund's deputy director of policy, said:

"The patient hotel concept offers advantages to some types of patient, such as those who receive cancer treatment a long distance from home.

"But it may not be appropriate for all patients, and it is important to ensure that it is used only where most clinically and cost effective."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Nothing new - they used to be called convalescent homes and they did a great job - bring them back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    And when not fully occupied by patients, they could take in paying guests.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    This Idea should have been in place years ago

    Hotel with very small medical facilities to be on the safe side, good facilities coupled with good food and relaxing atmosphere, would be good for everyone all round, and if needs be a upgrade facility that the patient can add to in cost terms. so it part pays it's own way as well

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Yes, the Scandinavian model works well, and is cheaper than hospital post-procedure wards. However, once it's been mangled through British bureaucracy, financial procedures and tendering, you can guarantee it'll be horrendously expensive, risky to patients, and with hefty profits (taxpayer money) going to shareholders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    At last! In my youth we had convalescent homes. Same thing, I suppose, and long overdue.

    And I don't care if 'Tory entrepreneurs line their pockets' - if there is a need, then it should be filled. If that means that private enterprise should fill it, so be it.

    But why doesn't the Government ensure all NHS 'privatisations' are fulfilled by not-for-profit enterprises?

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    On the surface this seems like a good idea and, in a way, Its going back to what we used to have available...

    Interesting to see how many people dis-trust this govt's motives though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    @23 mostadome.
    You took the words out of my mouth. I am just old enough to remember them. My dad went to one following major surgery. I beleive they were closed soon after. Shame.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Great idea, and so what if they're run by private companies so long as the cost to the patient is free? Such initiatives will save the NHS money by freeing up much-need bed space for provision of actual care.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Good idea which has been used in more successful health providing systems throughout the world.
    The NHS, like it or not, WILL have to embrace the private sector more and more
    The socialist model is inefficient and bureaucratic and if not reformed will find itself on the scrap heap of history
    As long as the treatment is free at point of need, I see no problem.
    The NHS's future is in the NHS's hands

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    We should of kept Convalescence Homes, that's where you were sent to to recover from being in Hospital.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Another move to line the pockets of Tory entrepreneurs. What will we see Respite Virgin Hotels? Instead of Royal Victoria Hospital. Want to pull the NHS back.? Cut the administrators by at least 50%.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    I hope the foood improves in these new hotels. And yes its a good enuff idea on the surface but NOT if its a private enterprise. Its very likely that this is just the Tories creating more money for their mates as usual. The good news is, they will dumped from power inside 20 months. Hooray !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    The BSC Consulting Group put forward the idea of Convenient clinics back in 2008 with effective nurse planning

    clearly staff and facilities go together which the now closed network of cottage hospitals offered.

    Suitable patients could be offered outreach in Southern Spain to reduce costs whilst loneliness and specialist support both reduced the effectiveness of Hotels eventually which charged

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Sounds wonderful, and better than being kicked out of hospital 6 days after a heart op to try and live on my own without much assistance.

    Oh and social services were'nt interested because I did not qualify for benefits or free care

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Surely a good opportunity to roll out as an experiment in a couple of areas , potential for a link with a hotel operator to actually run the units?

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    This was mooted many years ago (if memory serves me correctly by Prof Rose amongst others) citing the Scandinavian model yet private companies were allowed to, under PFI, build conventional type hospitals.

    Missed the boat again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    I can see DC's friends rubbing their collective hands together over this idea.....much lolly to be made in this one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    I think this could be a very effective idea, freeing frontline hospital beds and providing a one stop, holistic rehabilitation environment whilst longer term care plans are agreed with social services. The success will be to ensure that a placement is part of an integrated plan and not a dumping ground to pass long term costs from social service budgets onto the NHS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    We used to have plenty of these kind of facilities they were called Community Hospitals, but they've mostly been closed & sold off so that medical care can be given in central hospitals.


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