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Delays to Covid-only care home plan could strand patients, warn England health chiefs

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Covid patients could be left to languish in hospital and block NHS beds amid delays in setting up “hot” care homes dedicated to receiving them, health chiefs have warned.

A plan to reduce care home coronavirus outbreaks by setting up “hot homes” to receive infected people discharged from hospital is running late after dozens of councils missed a government deadline to nominate locations.

By the end of October every area of England was supposed to have at least one facility approved for Covid-positive discharges, the government pledged last month. It was part of an attempt to prevent a repeat of the spring pandemic, which killed more than 18,000 residents after thousands of patients were discharged into care homes without tests.

But as hospital admissions with Covid continue to rise, only 67 out of 151 local authorities have one set up, according to figures from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, said the delays were adding to discharge problems, causing increasing patient stays and a growing number of “super-stranded” patients.

“While the new discharge requirements are well-intentioned and aimed at protecting the most vulnerable in care homes, the challenge of implementing the changes has created blockages across mental health, acute and community beds,” said Miriam Deakin, the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers.

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Source: The Guardian, 18 November 2020

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