Pilot to integrate NHS and private care home services has not started well

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The chairman of Four Seasons Health Care has offered up 2000 of the group’s care home beds to the NHS to help hospitals tackle bed blocking.

Ian Smith said that an intermediate care service could be created that provides care for elderly patients who have completed their hospital treatment but cannot be discharged.

The concept is not entirely new, and is already being piloted in some parts of the country, but the early signs are not encouraging according to a care home group CEO who has seen it in action.

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Bunty Malhotra (pictured above), CEO of Prestwick Care which has a dozen homes in Newcastle and the North East, has worked with a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Gateshead; one of six CCGs around the country involved in the pilot.

Mr Malhotra describes the project: “Under that initiative, people are cared for at every point of the journey when they need care. Each aspect of the journey is debated and discussed between the service user, the service provider, the operator and the NHS. The aim is to create a service that focuses on outcomes, where the resident is made the primary person. The funding follows the individual, so it is not owned by the private sector or the NHS.

However, Mr Malhotra is disappointed with what he has seen so far. “The initiative that we are seeing in Gateshead has not started encouragingly. The mindset hasn’t changed. They have had months of meetings, but I have not been in one meeting where they think differently. If they try to procure the same services in the same manner, the result is going to be the same,” he laments.

Bunty Malhotra was speaking to Care Home Professional following the opening of the group’s Melton House luxury care home in Gosforth, Newcastle. Read the full interview in the March edition of the magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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