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Care home brands discharge system 'a shambles'

Posted on 12/02/2018 by David Burgess

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White Rock nursing home manager Karen Harrison and Clinical Manager Sue Long, left, at the home in Barton-on-Sea

AN ALLEGED change to the way the NHS finds care home beds is a ‘shambles’ and could be leaving nursing homes in crisis, it is being claimed.

Manager of the White Rock Nursing Home at Barton-on-Sea, Karen Harrison, says she believes the way patients are discharged has changed and has left her home facing closure because of dropping numbers, and she knows of at least one other establishment in a similar position.

“We are currently have eight empty beds which doesn’t sound much but at this rate we are losing £8,000 a week which is £32,000 a quarter and are heading towards a £100,000 loss,” said Ms Harrison. “Yet all we hear on the news is that they want specialist dementia beds. It’s a massive health problem and here we are with a highly competent and skilled workforce offering these specialist services and we know we are not the only ones – there’s another home I know of worse than us.”

She is blaming the drop in residents on what she believes is a new centralised discharge system which she claims is difficult to contact.

“What used to happen until a couple of months ago was that if we had an empty bed we’d ring our community social worker or social services and invariably they would ring straight back and say ‘we have someone in mind, can we come out and assess?’” she said.

After Christmas, she said, her clinical manager, Sue Long, realised they’d had no phone calls of this nature when they were used to getting at least two a day.

“It is a complete shambles and no one seems to know what is going on,” she said. “Local hospitals are jam packed with patients waiting to be discharged to homes like ours, but they can’t move the patients because no one is looking for beds for them. In the meantime, despite being able to offer much needed bed spaces we stand empty. It’s absolutely ludicrous.”

She said smaller homes like hers, which is rated Good by the Care Quality Commission: “Just don’t have the huge financial buffers the giants amongst us have and we can’t afford to keep going if no one is communicating with us.

“We rely on referrals from the local authorities and social care teams to keep us going. This new system is potentially the death knell for small businesses like ours and after 24 years of serving the local community we are not prepared to give up without a fight,” she said.

A spokesman for the West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which stretches as far east as Fareham near Portsmouth, said nothing had changed in the procedure of its service.

“The service remains the same and nothing has changed over the period of time in question,” he said. “People are assessed and the brokerage team will decide based on that assessment where best to place them.”

He could not say why individual care homes were not receiving patients.

Source: BournemouthEcho