Hospitals make way for homes

It’s nice to see that the Greater Manchester region is leading the way in helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society to be rehoused – those who no longer need acute care in hospital but require help with housing.

The plans by the Greater Manchester Housing Providers Group which includes 27 housing associations, to place housing workers in hospitals and other NHS settings to rehouse patients, is a ground breaking initiative. Hospitals often become ‘home’ to the most defenseless in our society as they simply have nowhere else to go, but this puts huge strain and costs on the NHS (£820m a year. 1.2 million bed days were lost to ‘delayed discharge’ in 2015, up 31% in two years), so having someone look at how to rehouse those people undoubtedly takes some of the strain from the NHS.

Aid and adaptations can no doubt be better managed by providing better communication between patient and housing association to make certain that housing is fit for purpose. Speed of response to requests will also be aided, efficiently moving things along and utilising costs effectively. Repairs requirements may also be expedited faster so that unnecessary time in hospitals is reduced whilst remedial work takes place.

However, housing associations are also being pushed to save 1% year on year, so this cross-sector initiative is an interesting move for the associations. Perhaps relocating housing officers into ‘the field’ will take some of the cost from their own bottom line. Is this perhaps ‘hot desking’ on a massive scale?