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Hospital Cuts Costs By Moving Cancer Patients To Hotels

UP TO a third of cancer patients at a leading National Health Services (NHS) trust will be moved out of wards and put up in nearby hotels under plans to save tens of millions of pounds on hospital beds in Britain.//

According to a report in the Sunday Times, over 100 patients suffering from cancer or blood disorders at University College hospital (UCH) in London have already stayed at NHS expense at the Radisson Edwardian Grafton, a four-star hotel where rooms cost £168 a night.

Despite the high cost of the accommodation, it is cheaper for patients to stay in the hotel than in hospital. A bed on a cancer ward costs between £500 and £600 a night. Patients staying in privately run hotels benefit by spending more time with their families, in addition to avoiding the risk of picking up hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA.

Two other hospitals in the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have transferred patients to local hotels. Patients at the Royal London Homeopathic hospital are being accommodated in the Bloomsbury Holiday Inn and patients from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery are being put up at the Imperial President hotel.

Patients receive chemotherapy, stem cell transplants or diagnostic investigations in hospital during the day and retire to their hotel room, often with a family member, in the evening. Hotel rooms are suitable for patients who are well enough not to need 24-hour nursing care, and still require treatment or daily monitoring.

Unlike hospital in-patients, those who have hotel rooms have their own en suite bathroom, television and, if they are well enough, can use the hotels’ leisure facilities. If patients develop a fever or nausea they are admitted to hospital, where some beds are held empty for this purpose. So far the hotel rooms have been rented by the NHS trust as a pilot project. Once the scheme is proved to be safe and preferred by the patients,
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