Harrogate hospital trust to offer at-home care to free up beds


A hospital trust is planning to launch its own home care service to try and free up hospital beds.

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said a lack of private care services resulted in people staying in hospital for longer than they should.

In August, 90 patients were judged fit to leave hospital but could not do so due to lack of care.

The six-month trial scheme would cost £146,000 and care would be provided in patients’ homes.

The trust will be only the second in the country to undertake such a project – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust announced similar plans earlier in the year.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the trust’s chief executive Jonathan Coulter said the lack of home care was the “biggest issue” the service faced.

Speaking to a board meeting of the trust, chief operating officer Russell Nightingale said the move would be a “huge change and a big decision”.

However, he said the issue of bed-blocking was only going to get worse.

“If you are in a hospital bed and fit to leave but can’t, it is probably one of the worst places to be,” he said.
The trust’s scheme would offer care packages to enable patients to go home
Mr Russell said in some cases patients’ health could decline when they were stuck in hospital.

“People want to be in their own homes as this is where they live and are comfortable,” he said.

The trust’s home care service will initially run as a six-month trial and cost around £146,000 to provide care for 36 patients.

It already provides some home care for children and said it had been in discussions with colleagues in Northumbria Healthcare about how its scheme worked.

It is estimated around 15 patients who otherwise would be stuck in hospital could be moved back into their own homes each day if the trial is a success.

Concerns about the impact on the private sector would be addressed by care packages being offered to private firms for a 24-hour period before the trust would step in.

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Olivia Wilson
By Olivia Wilson


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