With the rampant new variant of the virus causing chaos, the NHS is facing up to the challenge of managing seasonal winter pressures alongside a colossal number of coronavirus patients.
Even before the end of 2020, the challenge was beginning to manifest itself. According to data from NHS England, nearly 90% of hospital beds were full in the week leading up to the December 13. We have since had London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, declare a major incident in the capital due to the impact of Covid-19.
In ‘normal’ times bed capacity is a serious concern for health leaders at this point of the year, but the problem of people being ready to leave hospital but are, for a variety of reasons, unable to, has been brought ever more acutely into focus under the pressures of the pandemic.
For every patient waiting for a care home, or requiring adaptations to their own home, or who maybe don’t have a home to go back to at all, there is phenomenal demand, due to coronavirus, to free up their hospital bed. The places where patients can go are severely limited.
This is where Home Group and others can come in. As one of the UK’s largest providers of integrated housing and care, we are in the great position of being able to use our existing services and properties across England and put any extra capacity we have to good use.
Patients can be moved into appropriate homes in the community and provided with the support they need; whether that’s finding a more permanent place to live, continuing their recovery or needing further care, we have the experience and expertise in-house to manage this.
Crucially, this triage approach removes the pressure from NHS services and staff, freeing them up to focus on the more pressing issues being brought by the pandemic and the winter period.
This isn’t a new initiative. Home Group formed plans for how it could further support our healthcare system going forward early last year. This is an effective offer that is ready to go again.
Back in April 2020, we were approached by NHS Cornwall and Cornwall County Council to urgently help them with bed capacity as they dealt with the challenges of coronavirus. They needed to support people in the region to leave hospital wards and create space for those requiring intensive care beds.
In just ten days we turned a recently decommissioned building into 11 bedrooms; cleaning, decorating and part-furnishing each to provide a comfortable, safe and secure space for people to live. Since then, we’ve made around 150 beds available to trusts up and down the country.
Despite the light at the end of the tunnel provided by the vaccine role out, the next few months are without doubt going to be the biggest test the NHS has faced for a long time, maybe even since its inception.
It needs to turn to those who can help reduce the immense pressure. Home Group is very much ready to work with the NHS and local authorities across the country. We can adapt to individual needs and have the drive, passion and, most importantly, the resources to help.
To find out more about how Home Group can help with bed capacity, you can contact Home Group via email at: [email protected]
Words provided by Home Group, editorially reviewed by National Health Executive