NHS patients could be offered Airbnb-like accommodation

pharmafile | October 26, 2017 | News story | Medical Communications NHS, biotech, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical 

In a sign of how desperate the hospital bed situation across the UK is, one council has looked into piloting an AirBnb-style solution. The scheme could see members of the public opening up a spare room to provide temporary accommodation to individuals recuperating from a hospital stay.

The scheme is already raising controversy before even entering the pilot stage due to the fact that the start-up company behind the potential services is advertising to potential hosts on the potential to earn money. CareRooms, the start-up, has revealed that those offering out their rooms could earn up to £50 per day and a maximum of £1,000 per month.

In return, the owners of the room would be expected to fulfil basic caregiving services, such as heating up three microwave meals per day, providing conversation and support to patients. CareRooms suggest that hosts would be offered “host protection”, as well as a helpline to call and training.

Campaign group Save Southend A&E told the HSJ: “We are shocked that an NHS trust is endorsing such a company […] offering beds in private residential homes opens a huge can of worms for safeguarding, governance and possible financial and emotional abuse of people at their most vulnerable time. It is almost weekly that there are reports of abuse and poor care in registered residential and care homes, therefore the monitoring of such ‘placements’ in private homes would be a huge and risky task.”

CareRooms has countered claims that the proposals are risky and could potentially put patients in harm’s way by suggesting it would implement a strict vetting process; this would include detailed interviews, three references and a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

All of those involved stressed that the plans are still in the preliminary stages but the fact it is being considered goes to show the extremes to which the current system is being pushed.

Figures revealed that last year 2.2 million “bed days” in England were lost due to delayed transfer of care. It has also been revealed that “bedblocking” has risen by 40% in the past year and as many as 6,000 patients may be taking up beds on any given day when not requiring treatment.

Ben Hargreaves

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