14 Dec 2021
by The Homecare Association

In NHS England's latest letter, it has been recommended that hotels be utilised for hospital discharges. 

Responding to the news, Homecare Association's CEO Dr Jane Townson is quoted in the Guardian stating that it is unacceptable and it feels like "people are being warehoused". 

Commenting in full on the news, Townson stated: 

“We understand the need for NHS hospitals to discharge people for whom acute care is no longer deemed necessary or appropriate.

Most of us would prefer to go back to our own homes, surrounded by those important to us, and connected to our communities. Furthermore, our recovery is often fastest when we are in familiar surroundings. 

Regrettably, at a time of rapidly increasing demand, availability of homecare is currently limited. Years of under-investment by central government have led to poor practices in the commissioning and purchase of homecare by local authorities, including paying for contact time only, by the minute, at fee rates below those needed to ensure quality, compliance and sustainability. In turn, this has led to poor pay, terms and conditions of employment for careworkers.

Now we are facing the consequences. Careworkers are leaving in droves to better paid jobs in retail and hospitality, which do not require vaccination. Workforce shortages are worse than anyone can remember.

So, instead of being able to go home with support, people are being bundled out of hospital into hotels, staffed in some cases by self-employed careworkers from overseas, who are not subject to regulatory oversight and for whom there are no mandatory training requirements. 

The government’s vision for social care reform sets out long-term aspirations for how people will experience care and support in the future, to ensure that:

  • Everyone has choice, control and support to live independently
  • Everyone can access outstanding quality and tailored care and support
  • Everyone finds adult social care fair and accessible.

The chasm between these aspirations and realities on the ground makes the White Paper look like a hidden work of Enid Blyton.

We continue to call on the government to invest adequately in homecare and community support so we can enable people to live well at home, extend healthy life expectancy, reduce inequalities, take pressure off the NHS and reduce costs for the health and care system”.

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