Hospital discharge system leaves care home at ‘crisis point’

NHS hospital

A new system for placing hospital patients in care homes has caused “complete and utter mayhem”, according to a local manager.

General manager Karen Harrison, of White Rock nursing home in Barton-on-Sea in Hampshire, told the BBC a third of her 30 beds had been left vacant due to a lack of referrals following the introduction of the system in the spring of 2017.

Karen said: “We are at crisis point because we can’t fill our beds.  Social workers are pulling their hair out because they are not allowed to refer patients any more… they have to rely on this central brokerage system and it just isn’t working.”

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White Rock has been left with a number of vacancies after several residents died during a flu outbreak in December. Karen said the home was usually full and needed to fill 27 of its beds to break even.

A Hampshire County Council spokesperson admitted the new system had caused some delays which were “regrettable”.

The spokesperson added: “The decision to change the way care is sourced is designed to help the County Council to meet the growing demand for adult social care support across Hampshire, by freeing up our highly-skilled social workers to support those people most in need.”

The Council said most people had found accommodation quickly and it was working to address delays.

“The length of time to secure a placement varies and is dependent on each individual case – it is not simply a case of ‘filling a vacancy’ “, the spokesperson added.

“We take into account the personal preferences of the individuals needing care, including their preferred locations, as well as the availability of accommodation and the cost of placements.

“Our staff support some 8,000 people to leave hospital each year, and we continue to strive to ensure this is done as effectively as possible.”

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The author Lee Peart

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