Hospital to buy care home places to ease bed shortage

Northampton General Hospital is to start paying for care home places of people waiting to leave hospital in an attempt to ease ‘severe’ pressure on beds.

The hospital said it needed to double the number of patients with complex needs who left the hospital each day.

Many patients are fit enough to be discharged but await social care assessment from the county council.

The hospital said it would spend about £1 million on the care home places.

It already pays for private beds for patients who still require hospital care, while Northamptonshire County Council pays to look after those assessed as needing social care.

However, under a new arrangement the council and hospital will share the cost of care home places for patients facing delays in being discharged, including those waiting to be assessed.

It has been called an ‘interim measure’ due to ‘unprecedented winter pressures’.

The measure will be funded from NHS additional winter funding announced in the government’s 2017-18 Budget.

Sonia Swart, chief executive officer of the hospital, said: “Once a patient has transferred to the care home, the home will assume responsibility for their care needs with GP support.

“Patients will still be able to exercise their right to choose a placement or care package of their choice while in their temporary care home.

“There is severe pressure on the system.”

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