As a member of the group participating in the Worthing Churches Homeless Projects and Worthing Homes event, I was impressed and encouraged by the positive solution focused approach of those present.
Whether it is to ease the bed blocking or temporary housing issue – why not bring existing or empty properties or cottage hospitals back into use by refurbishing them into 21st Century hospital hotels?
Patients of any age should not be left in corridors or kept in hospital unnecessarily due to lack of housing and social care. Neither should families be left on a housing list for years with little chance of a decent home.
Why not create a triage partnership between councils, NHS hospitals and local developers to create an extra care facility for patients on a temporary basis for a few day or a few weeks?
It would provide a half-way house or modern convalescent home either through refurbishment or a new build.
The tenure could be mixed to provide ongoing sustainability. Rooms could be booked for patients by the hospital and the costs of care and board and lodging paid through the joint partnership of councils and the NHS. The temporary medical care being provided by the NHS and social care as needed.
Other solutions might include using or hiring spare beds in the current nursing homes on a supply basis, rather like temporary housing, but with care, or locating and bringing former extra care homes into the mix. The solution to bed blocking – the bête noir of the NHS – is only restricted by our collective political will and determination to find creative answers.
But barriers still exist even when solutions are offered – we need to campaign for council tax incentives to be applied to buildings given over in trust, to not-for-profit organisations and which fall under the charitable umbrella.
Working together is indeed the best way forward.
Cllr Hazel Thorpe
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