Hospital Patients Could Be Discharged To Hotels If 'Safe' – NHS Medical Director

Sir Stephen Powis
Sir Stephen Powis

Sir Stephen Powis

NHS medical director Steve Powis has suggested some patients could be discharged to hotels to free up hospital beds.

Powis said such measures could be taken during the NHS crisis provided that it is “appropriate and safe”.

He said hotels had been used before for patients who were medically fit to be discharged and no longer needed to be in hospital.

The NHS is facing crises on multiple fronts this winter with high cases of flu, Covid-19 and concerns about underinvestment and staffing shortages.

NHS trusts providing acute care in Devon, Cornwall and Bristol started moving patients who are medically fit to leave into hotels this week.

Powis told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme NHS patients were being discharged into care homes, their own homes and virtual wards at home with medical monitoring.

“We have used hotels in the past, it’s one of a number of...things that we can use to improve discharge – clearly has to be appropriate, clearly it has to be safe,” he said.

The NHS England national medical director said hotels “will be one component, but probably a small component in particular areas of our overall policy to discharge” medically fit patients.

Powis said the health service was enduring “extreme pressure this winter” with Covid and flu piling pressure on to an “already extremely stretched NHS”.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) said between 300 and 500 people were dying every week as a result of delays to emergency care.

Powis said NHS England was “relying on the ONS and other experts” to come up with the figures, adding it was “not unusual to see high levels of excess deaths in the winter” including from respiratory illnesses and cold weather.