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 50.

    Am I realy old or do I remember things called convalescent homes? Does not sound a new idea to me, I even remember Nursing homes where you went for nursing care not urgent medical care. Or failing that you would go to a 'cottage hospital'. Surely time to go back to the original settings and estanlish a broadscale NHS properly funded with bottom heavy nursing staff and top light management!

  • 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 2.

    let me guess, there's a private company that just happens to provide this service which has links to several high ranking managers and cabinet members?

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    Don't let managers think that they have come up with some brilliant new idea - like most things this goes full circle. I was a health care worker when patients were routinely discharged to convalescent homes - not well enough to be at home, not sick enough to be in hospital. Why they were abolished is anyone's guess? Seemed like a good idea at the time?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    It sounds promising, provided of course that such facilities are NHS run and not just another sneaky way of privatising heath care.


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