UK hospitals to move patients to hotels to free space for COVID-19 sufferers
It is not a concrete proposal by, ‘but it's something we look at,’ says Health Secretary Matt Hancock...
Istanbul , Jale Akbar, İnteraz - 13 January 2021, 16:05
Thousands of patients will be discharged from UK hospitals to either hotels or their own homes to create new space for COVID-19 patients who need intense care to survive, local media reported Wednesday.
According to a plan, named “home and hotel”, whose related documents were seen by the Guardian, hospitals are getting ready to discharge patients early in a large scale for “extra emergency contingency capacity.”
The measure came as the number of COVID-19 patients who need hospital treatment skyrocketed in past weeks to reach as many as 35,000.
The number of those who tested positive within last 7 days stands at 389,572, according to official figures.
The documents seen by the Guardian also revealed that the National Health Service (NHS) will ask care homes to start accepting COVID-19 patients directly from hospitals and without a recent negative test, as long as they have been in isolation for 14 days and have shown no new symptoms.
Those who are discharged from hospitals early will receive help from voluntary organizations, including St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross, as well as from armed forces medical personnel and any available NHS staff, the British daily said.
However, patients will not be asked to leave hospital early if they are still medically at risk.
“This is for patients who don’t need to be in a hospital bed but still need to be in a protected environment,” an official was quoted as saying by the daily.
"There are huge pressures on the NHS and, as you'd expect, we're looking to all different ways that we can relieve those pressures," Health Secretary Matt Hancock told SkyNews.
Asked about the “home and hotel” plans, Hancock said they would only ever do that “if it was clinically the right thing for somebody.”
"But in some cases, people need step-down care, they don't actually need to be in a hospital bed.”
He said they are looking at all options, and the plan is not a concrete proposal by any means, “but it's something we look at, because we look at all contingencies."
Hancock also spoke on calls by some Tory MPs to end the national lockdown in place on March 8.
He said it was "impossible to know" how long the restrictions might continue.
"We will keep the restrictions in place not a moment longer than they are necessary, but we will keep them in place as long as they're necessary," the health secretary added.