NHS discharges patients to free up hospital beds for winter crisis

hospital beds

The patients are being relocated to other locations like care hotels. 

The National Health Service in England is experiencing a winter crisis. According to a statement by Steve Barclay, health minister, “The NHS is under enormous pressure from COVID and flu, and on top of tackling the backlog caused by the pandemic, Strep A and upcoming strikes, this winter poses an extreme challenge,” That is why several patients are being moved from hospitals into care homes and other settings. 

Problems NHS

The National Health Service in the UK allows the whole population access to free healthcare. But currently, the state-run health service is experiencing issues. Due to the pandemic and its aftermath, the rising flu cases, underinvestment by the government and strikes in the UK concerning payment, there aren’t enough beds available in the hospitals and there is a shortage of staff to help patients. According to ABC News, patients are currently being treated in the hallways and ambulances are waiting outside to deliver patients to emergency rooms.


The government wants to make funding available for the short-term care outside of the hospital. According to a statement by the government, 200 million pounds will be used to buy short-term care facilities in which patients that don’t need a lot of medical care, can stay. More funding will be made available for improving the current conditions in existing health care facilities.

Discharging patients

Patients who are medically fit to leave are being discharged from hospitals and transferred to ‘care hotels’. According to The Guardian, there are 13,000 beds that are occupied by so-called ‘delayed discharge’ patients. These patients are medically fit to be discharged but can not leave the hospital because their accommodation, support or care outside of the hospital is not ready for them yet.

The NHS has booked rooms at several hotels in the country where these patients will be looked after by staff employed by the NHS. They will stay in the hotels until accommodations outside of the hospital, like in care homes or at home, are available. According to a spokesperson for the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire integrated care board, “Local health and care services are under significant pressure and this temporary care facility delivered at a local hotel will help us to improve the flow of patients through our hospitals by ensuring more people can be discharged as soon as they are medically fit to leave hospital.”

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Source: ABC News, The Guardian, NHS England, Public Health Schotland | Image: Unsplash, Adhy Savala