Major Barriers To The Discharge of Elderly Patients From Increasingly Full Hospitals Are A Cause For Deep Concern

The government is today being called upon to provide extra funding for care homes to take thousands of elderly patients from our currently overwhelmed hospitals. According to a report in today’s Health Service Journal, an increasing number hospitals are experiencing a very high and rapidly growing numbers of Covid-19 admissions, and are running out of options to free up beds.

On 16 December, the Department of Health and Social Care said patients could be discharged to any care home bed available in special circumstances. The Health Service Journal reports that senior NHS leaders say they now need to discharge a large number of patients to care and nursing homes, but this has become increasingly difficult. It is understood many homes are refusing to accept new residents, as they are fearful of a repeat of the mass fatalities experienced in the sector in the first wave. Beds in care homes are laying empty, but many care providers are refusing to accept residents where there is a risk of introducing Covid-19.  They say they fear repeating the disaster of the Spring in this sector.

A well-placed source told the respected Health Service Journal, ‘There is the sense that, because the government’s fingers got so burnt [on the care home issue] in March and April, it its running scared to have a discussion about what role they should play now, or even to be seen to have a discussion. But now it does really need to step up and play its role here given the position hospitals are now in.’

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