England Rushes To Discharge Hospital Patients To Ease Bed-Blocking Crisis

Babita Soni
Babita Soni
2 Min Read
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From Reuters: The National Health Service (NHS) in England is to start releasing thousands of patients into care homes and other settings within the next few weeks in an effort to free up badly needed beds during one of its worst ever winters.

Years of relative underinvestment, the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, and strike action by frontline employees over wages have put a burden on the state-run health service, which gives free care to the entire population and until recently had been a source of pride for many Britons.

Doctors and nurses are having a hard time discharging patients due to a lack of staff and beds; as a result, some patients are being treated in corridors, and ambulances have been queuing outside hospitals to transfer over patients to emergency units.

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In a statement, the government of England announced that it would spend up to 200 million pounds ($242 million) on additional funding to buy short-term care places for patients who, according to their doctors, have low medical needs, allowing them to be cared for outside of hospital, and another 50 million pounds to improve existing facilities.

It was unclear from the announcement whether or whether the National Health Service in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland would also be investing extra money in care beds.

The NHS in England reintroduced the practise of releasing some patients to other settings during the pandemic in an effort to make room for patients with COVID-19.

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Health minister Steve Barclay stated in a statement, “The NHS is under great pressure from COVID and flu, and on top of handling the backlog generated by the pandemic, Strep A, and anticipated strikes, this winter poses an exceptional challenge.”

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