THOUSANDS of hospital patients are to be moved to hotels or their own homes to free up beds for Covid-19 patients, it has been reported.
Hospital chiefs in England will start discharing patients earlier than ever before to create “extre emergency contingency capacity”, senior sources have said.
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Hospital chiefs in England will start discharing patients earlier than ever before, it has been reportedCredit: AFP or licensors
Documents seen by The Guardian have also revealed that the NHS is also asking care home to accept coronavirus patients directly from hospital without a recentnegative test – but as long as they have isolated for 14 days do not show new symptoms.
The emergency plans, called the “home and hotel” plan, would see patients who are discharged early to a hotel to recieve help from voluntary organisations such as St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross, armed forces medical personnel and any available NHS staff.
The London Hotel Group (LHG) has started taking Covid-positive patients who are homeless from King’s College hospital in South London to its Best Western nearby.
It is reportedly in talks with 20 other NHS trust and could possibly provide 5,000 beds.
Families are also expected to play a key role in caring for loved ones when they are sent home early.
Sources told the paper that patients who will be asked to leave early would only require light-touch care, meaning they will not be discharged if they are still medically at risk.
One official said: “This is for patients who don’t need to be in a hospital bed but still need to be in a protected environment.”
It comes as Europes’s largest intenvsive care unit is boosting its intensive treatment unit capacity to more than 250 beds, and will support capacity for 1,000 in-patients.
The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust (UHB) currently has 125 Covid-positive patients in their intensive care units across its three main hosptial sites: the Queen Elizabeth and Heartlands Hospitals, both in Birmingham, and Good Hope in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.
A further 873 in-patients are being treated with coronavirus while the Solihull centre treats those without the bug.
In a statement, the trust said “every member of staff will be supported” as it scales-up capacity “to treat the rising number of Covid-19 patients”.
LHG’s chief executive, Meher Nawab, said: “We will be looking to roll this solution out across our hotels to provide hospitals with a lifeline at this critical time.”
An LHG spokesperson added: “The patient group the NHS is seeking to accommodate at this stage are recovered or recovering from Covid and who are medically fit for discharge, and thus do not require specialist medical supervision or specialist care, but can’t yet return home. This frees up NHS bedspace and capacity and is relatively easy for hotels to accommodate.”
The Guardian approached the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.
The Queen Elizabeth hospital in the West Midlands is one of three on the brink of being overwhelmed