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Treasury ‘the barrier’ as full hospitals desperate to discharge patients to social care

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The government is being pressed to urgently pay care homes to take on thousands of patients from hospitals, many of which are on course to be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

Hospitals, particularly in London and the surrounding areas, are seeing very high and rapidly growing numbers of covid-19 admissions, and are running out of options to free up beds. Multiple senior NHS leaders said they need to discharge more patients to care homes, but that this had become increasingly difficult.

Beds in many care homes are lying empty, but many care providers are refusing to accept residents where there is a risk of introducing covid-19 and fear of repeating the disaster of the spring in the sector.

Part of the problem is some care providers which would otherwise become covid-designated homes say they are not insured for the risk of doing so.

HSJ understands national officials in the NHS and government are now considering options to try to alleviate the problem, amid urgent requests from local NHS leaders, including paying for the additional insurance cost. However, sources said the Treasury had not yet been willing to foot the bill.

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Source: HSJ, 7 January 2021

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