‘Carebnb’ highlights need for new models
Using people private homes as ‘Carebnbs’ to relieve pressure on the NHS drew national media attention in late October, reporting that Southend University Hospital had pulled-out of a trial of the scheme.
The hospital distanced itself from the widely-criticised Airbnb-style pilot scheme after it was criticised by both health groups and politicians.
However, health minister Philip Dunne, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, said he ‘wouldn’t immediately reject’ the idea as ‘one’s got to trial different things’.
“This is not national policy, anything innovative needs to be very carefully scrutinised and assessed before we proceed with it,” said Mr Dunne.
“I wouldn’t say that new models of care in the community are necessarily wrong.”
The scheme – now dubbed ‘Carebnb’ – would have been trialled in Essex with around 30 hospital patients staying in local residents’ spare rooms while they wait to be discharged.
Healthcare start-up CareRooms said it would recruit ‘hosts’ whose properties had spare rooms or annexes. Hosts would be required to provide the patients with their own separate bathroom, and would earn a maximum of £1,000 a month.
Writing on the National Care Forum’s website, the organisation’s executive director Vic Rayner said the idea of Carebnb represented al need to look and think differently about how discharge is managed.
“From within the care sector there have rightly been vociferous objections to this approach, with a particular emphasis on how the care in those settings would be regulated,” said Ms Rayner.
“Although as ever with these stories – the devil will be in the detail – and there is a clear talk of partnership with regulated partners. Of course, these and other challenges raise serious questions for those who are trying to look for an imaginative solution to a major and escalating problem. Getting people out of acute settings into a ‘step down’ setting is not new and we know that there are more ‘innovative’ solutions out there, but clearly the wholescale adoption of them has floundered and needs a fresh look; potentially a fresh feel.”