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NHS Airbnb-style scheme 'not ruled out' by minister

From BBC - October 29, 2017

The idea of NHS hospital patients recuperating in Airbnb-style accommodation has not been ruled out, health minister Philip Dunne has said.

Southend Hospital had been linked to a trial where hospital patients could be discharged to people's spare rooms.

The hospital distanced itself from the idea following criticism by politicians and health groups.

But Mr Dunne told BBC Radio 5 live he "would not immediately reject it" as "one's got to trial different things".

The pilot scheme, proposed in Essex, would have seen some 30 hospital patients staying in local residents' spare rooms instead of in hospital while they waited to be discharged.

The idea followed warnings about delays in discharges from UK hospitals.

As part of the trial, healthcare start-up CareRooms said it would recruit "hosts" whose properties had spare rooms or annexes with a private bathroom.

Southend Hospital later said the pilot would not be supported until certain criteria had been met.

'New care models'

However, when asked by the BBC's deputy political editor John Pienaar if the idea deserved a look, health minister MP Mr Dunne said: "Well, I would not rule it out.

"This is not national policy, anything innovative needs to be very carefully scrutinised and assessed before we proceed with it.

A 'sticking plaster'

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