back to article UK's NHS to pilot 'Airbnb'-style care service in homeowners' spare rooms

The NHS has been criticised over plans for an "Airbnb"-style scheme in which homeowners will be paid £1,000 a month to host patients in their spare rooms. Startup CareRooms is working with trusts and councils in Essex. Folks who sign up are asked to cook three microwave meals for their patient each day, provide them with …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Really politicians will believe any shite that gets fed to them by a geezer in an appropriately sharp suit.

    Someone has honestly thought this was a good idea and will save money

    1. Aqua Marina

      I have a cunning business plan.

      Step 1) Now that we’ve all flown the coop my elderly mother lives in a house that has 4 unused double bedrooms, each with ensuite. That’s £4K per month.

      Step 2) Hire a couple of east European workers to come in on a part time shift each during the day to cook and clean. That’ll cost about £1.4 per month.

      Step 3) Cornflakes for breakfast and 2 microwave meals a day, that’s £600 per month.

      Step 4) ??????

      Step 5) Profit!!!!

      This makes me £2K per month, I’m providing work, and as a bonus, my old mum has some company!!

      What possibly could go wrong!

      1. JamesPond

        Re: I have a cunning business plan.

        You'll only be able to hire the east europeans up to March 2018! Then you'll have to make do with Brits wo won't want a menial job for £8k per year.

      2. JamesPond

        Re: I have a cunning business plan.

        And if they die whilst in your care, even better, don't tell anyone, keep collecting the rent, not outgoings on food and cornflakes. On the yearly council inspection, just tell the inspector that the lodger has gone out for a walk, no one need ever know.

        1. monty75

          Re: I have a cunning business plan.

          I’m going to offer an on-demand maternity service and call it Deliveroo

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I have a cunning business plan.

            I'm preparing actors to replace the incumbent in a long-running children's sci-fi program. To be called DeliverWho

            1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

              Re: I have a cunning business plan.

              Downvote because you called it a "children's sci-fi program".

              1. Chris 239

                Re: I have a cunning business plan.

                @ Alladin

                That's 11 comentards (and counting) without a sense of humour! :-)

          2. monty75

            Re: I have a cunning business plan.

            Oh, and a patient transport service Uberlance.

      3. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: I have a cunning business plan.

        What possibly could go wrong!

        Your dear old mum gets arrested for running a brothel which caters to people with similar tastes as Wayne Rooney, after the almighty profit-motive thoroughly infects both her and her, um, residents. But what disgusts you most is that she called the contacts app Greyr.

        1. HelpfulJohn Bronze badge

          Re: I have a cunning business plan.

          Jimmy Saviles by the bucket load?

      4. Oh Homer

        How very British

        Next up ... Victory Gardens.

        However, Blighty 2017 is a very different beast to days of yore, and by "different" I mean more PC, cynical and bureaucratic than ever. For a start, I assume that the bean counters who dreamed up this farce are aware that anything even remotely characterisable as "care work" requires PVG certification and a disclosure check.

        In practice this should mean very few people will actually qualify as suitable to care for anyone "vulnerable", even if the full extent of their involvement is a cup of tea and a chat. They'll have a "vulnerable" person trapped inside their house. They might be a communists, terrorists, paedophiles, Pokemon Go players or worse. Think of the children, etc.

        Sadly the days of Mrs. Thomson looking after wee Johnny while his mum is off killing Nazis, without being subjected to a full background check, body cavity search and GPS-tracking ankle bracelet, are long over.

        So how many people will happily submit to a good rectal probing and complete exposure of every minor indiscretion they've committed since birth, just for the promise of putting up a complete stranger with a hysterectomy in the spare bedroom?

      5. macjules Silver badge

        Re: I have a cunning business plan.

        Local Trust sends you 4 elderly 'recovering' Alzheimer's patients who require 24/7 bed care, won't eat and have to be almost cuffed to the bed because they just want to go home. Their relatives visit and are complaining to all and sundry that you are neglecting them. After 24 hours your East European slaves quit, leaving you almost literally elbow deep in the brown stuff.

        But of course 'No caring experience is required'.

        1. Snorlax Silver badge

          Re: I have a cunning business plan.

          @macjules: Yep, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate forecast of how things would go.

          Why doesn’t the NHS buy a disused warehouse and fill it with bunk beds?

          Something along the lines of the Near-Death Star in Futurama...

    2. JamesPond


      Care homes are in crisis because councils have cut spending per head, but they can afford £1k per month for this? Going to require some very careful contract wording to persuade anyone to give up a spare bed/bathroom with potentially no ability to turf the 'lodger' out at short notice if they become abusive or incapable of looking after themselves.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Waaat?

        Residential care typically costs about £2,600 per month, or about £3,600 per month for nursing care.

        The going rate for a room in Southend is £500. That leaves £500 per month for staff costs, which is nowhere near enough.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Waaat?

        @JamesPond - "but they can afford £1k per month for this?"

        To be fair, Care Homes are surprisingly expensive. I worked to pay my way through Uni, that was in 1998-2000, even then they were costing over £1000 a month. Can only imagine its doubled or tripled since then.. Yet it does make one wonder how some many of them have gone out of business!

  2. wolfetone

    After 7 years of living under this government, it's getting harder and harder to find the appropriate words to describe how utterly greedy and bat shit insane they are without sounding like a broken record.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Really NHS management should just give a list of what services they're going to cancel on what date and refer any complaints to the government. Perhaps then the British public might decide to do something about it.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        The BBC is broadcasting a first-draft instruction manual on Saturday nights.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          You mean 'carry on dancing and forget that the country is plummeting over Beachy Head right now'?

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. kain preacher

    SO what's the worse that could happen other than a dead patient.

    Abused patient .

    I shit hole place.

  5. TonyJ Silver badge

    I can see a lot that could go wrong with this but playing devil's advocate for a second there's a few things that spring to mind that could also be positives such as patients actually having company for a while. Hospitals these days are pushed to breaking point and health care staff struggle to find that kind of time more often than not (and that's no slur on them - they do a fantastic job for the most part).

    Also going with it is an almost one-to-one monitoring (though again, flip side of that coin is a lack of help if something were to go wrong with the patients' health).

    Not sure it's a good idea at all but something that is possibly worth considering for some of the lighter cases, perhaps?

    1. Matthew Smith

      I agree. Its worth giving it a go. I've got a couple of aunties that took early retirement after working in the NHS. If they took in two patients each then they'd get a living wage, two beds in hospitals would be unblocked, and the patients would have company while they recuperated in much better condition than being left on their own all day at home. The only misgiving is how much experience the host needs. No experience at all is asking for trouble.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Bear in mind that you get £500 per month if you rent your room out to an able-bodied person who doesn't require food and needs no supervision.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          You get £500 a month for renting the room out, or you get £1000 for renting it out to the NHS.

          However, if you turn it over to growing weed you could be making even more...

    2. Nick Kew

      I can envisage a case in point.

      I have a friend in her 80s, who had to go into hospital for something about a year ago. She lives alone, and normally needs no help. But when she had just been operated, they didn't want to let her out unless there was someone around just in case she needed it.

      If I had a suitable spare room (and known about it at the time), I'd've been happy to offer it. If the NHS were paying, it could go a long way towards making it acceptable to a patient who doesn't want to be any trouble.

      It's just one more step to do the same with strangers.

    3. 7teven 4ect

      Where will the patient's prescription be kept this month? Anything nice?

      What could possibly go wrong?

      1. swampdog

        There is so much wasted. The NHS has screwed up my prescription every time for the last 5 months. Put two IT systems together (NHS + Asda) and what you get is a blame game. Extra appointments to the doc just to sort our paperwork. Doc should be curing folk.

        Combine both those "practice manager" numpties and throw them at my mother. She's happily retired living all on her own. She was.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Having looked after elderly relatives and friends who normally live alone, I can see where they are coming from in trying to replace low level care with something similar outside of expensive hospital beds to make sure there aren't any complications or patients don't attempt more than they can cope with while they recover.

      BUT I'm yet to be convinced that you can pay people to care and not end up with cases where either the patient or career is screwed by the system. Many of the traditional small scale care homes that have provided this type of care in the past have been pressured by local/central government cost cutting and more regulations to ensure patient safety while driving up costs, resulting in a lack of places. This appears to be an attempt at filling those places and restarting the cost/regulatory spiral at a lower point once again.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just when you thought they were the dumbest fucks around, they find new and interesting ways of proving just how dumb they truly are.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Something needs to be done

    Not sure this is the solution but if we don't do anything the problems are simply going to get worse.

    I would have thought the number of people with a spare bedroom and a self-contained bathroom, able and willing to provide the care and services a patient staying would need, would be rather low. It's something which would likely be better served by a hotel, hostel or purpose built facility.

    I can't object to the idea in principle because it seems no worse to me than fostering or putting one's own relatives up. I expect some patients would love it, prefer it.

    It's how we do it which matters. Even officially approved care homes don't always measure-up as they should so I do understand legitimate concerns and fears. Trying to do anything on the cheap, without proper and necessary oversight, usually has unintended and adverse consequences.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Something needs to be done

      Quite agree that something must be done, the system is falling apart. Our Council are proposing to close the only remaining council-owned care home, because it would cost too much to bring up to scratch. (Question: who's been neglecting maintenance for years? Another question: who's been cutting the funding for the council so they can't afford to do the maintenance?)

      They may have a case - but they have no alternative plan. Where will people needing care go? This suggestion doesn't seem likely to help in more than a tiny percentage of cases.

      And anyway, aren't they doing it on the cheap? £1k/month is in line with a cheap B+B in a shared room, not private en-suite, full-board, and presumably washing, ironing, shopping etc. And how much will the 'management company' slice off the top?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Something needs to be done

        (Question: who's been neglecting maintenance for years? Another question: who's been cutting the funding for the council so they can't afford to do the maintenance?)

        Who spent all the money in the first place, leaving us with a vast increase in the national debt, a budget deficit that still isn't under control?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Something needs to be done

          "Who spent all the money in the first place, leaving us with a vast increase in the national debt"

          The world banking system, which created an asset bubble which was debt funded.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Something needs to be done

            "Who spent all the money...." The world banking system, which created an asset bubble which was debt funded.

            Ignoring the role of the Blair/Brown government in turning a blind eye and failing to regulate, the 2008 crisis was separate from the UK government's budgetary problems that started then and continued ever since. Those problems can also be traced back to Brown.

        2. swampdog

          Re: Something needs to be done

          Well, it started with the labour govt just after the war. They created the NHS and the state pension. The idea was everybody would pay a bit out of their wages until they retired then they'd have a guaranteed pension. Well that worked well, from ringfenced (*) to "oo" (**) to "borrow against it(***)".

          (*) govt

          (**) govt

          (***) govt

      2. JamesPond

        Re: Something needs to be done

        "who's been cutting the funding for the council "

        The Conservatives, who else!!!±

        In 2011/12 the coalition government closed primary care trusts at the insistence of the Tories. Whist they created CCGs to take on some of the work and funded these (but not to the same extent as the SHA/PCTs), the Tories also moved a lot of the responsibilities for public health into council ownership, without increasing council budgets. This all helped the Tories sell the idea that they had put more money into the NHS, when in fact what they had done was keep the funding the same for the NHS but essentially decreased the funding for Councils. Council funding is a lot less politically sensitive than the NHS and is 'local' rather than national.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Something needs to be done

        RE: Our Council are proposing to close the only remaining council-owned care home, because it would cost too much to bring up to scratch. (Question: who's been neglecting maintenance for years? Another question: who's been cutting the funding for the council so they can't afford to do the maintenance?)

        Based on a BBC Radio 4 series on care homes in the UK, it wasn't so much about maintenance not being spent as regulatory requirements making care homes (almost) needing to be purpose built rattan than using converted homes. Things like doors being wide enough to get stretchers to rooms or providing lifts in multi-storey properties where you cannot easily cover the investment if the property is providing care on a smallish scale (<10 residents) that made up a significant portion of short term care facilities in the past, largely staffed by retired nurses who owned the properties.

        My guess is that the Council home is old and doesn't meet the current regulations. And it's hard to justify investing when larger providers appear to be able to provide services at a lower cost. At least until they go bust...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Something needs to be done

          Another question: who's been cutting the funding for the council so they can't afford to do the maintenance?)

          My local council are saying the same things. But funnily enough they found the money for music festivals, firework displays, gay poetry celebrations, and a million quid to resurface a hundred yards of pedestrian precinct.

          This "we've got no money and its all the government's fault" is half true. But if the incompetent wankers of local government didn't waste what they have, I'd have a whole lot more sympathy with them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Something needs to be done

      Not sure this is the solution but if we don't do anything the problems are simply going to get worse.

      Plenty of things they could do:

      Logan's Run.

      Negotiate a bulk discount with Dignitas.

      Hold a war where the call up age is 50+.

      Put fast acting humane poison in Werther's Originals.

      Hold regular "granny versus lion" events at safari parks and zoos.

      Retrain domestic cats to believe that elderly people are merely large mice.

      Encourage SAGA to offer exceptionally dangerous sports holidays.

      Hack into the Guardian and the Mail, and ensure that the content is switched, causing apoplexy and death to readers in their thousands.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Something needs to be done


        "Hold regular "granny versus lion" events at safari parks and zoos."

        The grans would win every time.

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Something needs to be done

        Hold a war where the call up age is 50+.

        A bit like John Scalzi's Old Man's War.

        1. Mike 137 Silver badge

          Re: Something needs to be done

          A well-established principle - see Logan's Run

          1. HelpfulJohn Bronze badge

            Re: Something needs to be done

            "A well-established principle - see Logan's Run"

            "Pebble in the Sky" by Isaac Asimov is a better treatment of the issue. And a better novel.

      3. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: Something needs to be done

        Retrain domestic cats to believe that elderly people are merely large mice.

        Cats already believe this about humans. That's why they do things like get underfoot when you're at the top of a staircase.

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: Something needs to be done

      "would likely be better served by a hotel, hostel or purpose built facility."

      And what would we call this purpose built facility? How about Hospital.


      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: Something needs to be done

        And what would we call this purpose built facility? How about Hospital.


        Thanks for that.

        It's people in hospital who don't need to be in hospital, who could be equally served outside hospital, we are talking about here; "We are working with the local health and care community to provide a safe, comfortable place for people to recuperate from hospital".

        It's about dealing with people who are recovering from hip replacements and the like who need to be cared for but don't actually need to be in hospital to get the care they need, who are bed-blocking and preventing other people needing surgery and treatment getting that People who could, and probably would like to, leave hospital if only there were somewhere else for them to get the care they needed.

  9. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    What could possibly etc...

    Doesn't even begin to describe this batshit crazy idea.

    I have a better idea - just give me £1k per month. That's it. Nothing else. No use of spare bedroom etc. (It's in use by one of the cats anyway) Advantage over the proposal is there's no chance of abuse of the sick and elderly.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: What could possibly etc...

      just give me £1k per month. That's it.

      I'll do it for a monkey thus offering a saving of 50% to the public purse. Not something to be sniffed at in these times of austerity. For an extra ton, I would consider cutting back on meth too. Everybody wins.

      Joking apart I am totally advising my kids to make clear to the Uber-supply teacher at the beginning of the lesson that a five star rating is dependent on unsupervised word-searches for the entire lesson and even looking at the regular teacher's lesson plan notes is an instant 1 and no more bookings

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: What could possibly etc...

      But is it absolutely batshit crazy? I don't think it's the best way to address the problem and the AC who removed their post gave a brilliant, if tragically realistic, vision of how bad it could be - I was up-voting as it got pulled!

      I mentioned fostering in my earlier post and that could be seen as similarly batshit crazy, putting vulnerable children into the hands of paedophiles, perverts, terrorist sympathisers and criminals; what could possibly go wrong?

      And sometimes it does indeed end badly and tragically. But that doesn't mean we don't do it, that we shouldn't.

      The places we would otherwise put them sometimes have even worse outcomes.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: What could possibly etc...

      It's in use by one of the cats anyway

      I'm sufficiently evil that my cats have to *share* rooms. Yes, it's that bad.

      It also means that on cold nights we have a number of small[1], furry heaters on the bed with us. Which is nice.

      [1] And the two 7kg+ ones.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why stop at care?

    How about have random people provide simple operations for more cash? Doris needs a new hip? No problem, Malcolm from Rochdale can have a decent go at that for £1500 on his kitchen table. He's got quite a nice set of steak knives, and know's what a hip is.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Why stop at care?

      But unfortunately has no idea how to use an apostrophe.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why stop at care?

        > But unfortunately has no idea how to use an apostrophe.

        So colon surgery is quite out of the question.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why stop at care?

          What about comma patients?

        2. Rusty 1

          So colon surgery is quite out of the question.

          Only half out of the question.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And of course...

    ...the owners will register themselves as a business, change of usage is applied, ensure that boilers are serviced and certified, self closing fire doors are fitted, mains fire and carbon monoxide detectors are installed, evacuation routes planned and modified, first aid training is up to date, public liability insurance is covered, risk assessments carried out, enhanced DBS checks are in place, the person is never left alone with someone not DBS checked.......

    Nah, thought not.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: And of course...

      From a safeguarding viewpoint, this sounds like a massive no-no. If you've ever attended a course on child or vulnerable adult safeguarding, you'll know that the general rule is: Don't be alone with them. That means you need two people to look after the one patient.

  12. Rob Dyke

    I see that the TTL...

    I see that the Time To Lift from El Reg to The Guardian has got lower...

    El Reg: 13:34

    Big G: 14:21

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. tiggity Silver badge

    IT angle

    CareRooms website: In partnership with Microsoft

    HSJ link to story is behind paywall (worth mentioning in el reg is a link is essentially unviewable for majority of readers)

    Low rate of pay for someone staying 24/7 unless you are essentially doing almost zero care (and overheads of heating (a lot of the stayees likely to be elderly needing toastier temperatures), laundering the bed linen, stayees clothes, towels etc., extra cleaning, extra bathroom goods..

    As Aqua Marina cynically said, its financially viable if you use a whole building & get in cheap labour, but anyone else would be better off doing minimum wage job.

    1. Dr Paul Taylor

      more like £4K

      When my Mum was in a care home with Alzheimers in 2012 it cost about £3600/month. Probably a lot more now.

  15. Caff

    red tape

    They'll complain about the difficulty of complying with background checks and fire certs etc...

    Then there will be some kind of fraud or abuse scandal

    Then a public inquiry about how this was approved

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about outhouses and sheds?

    Can I use bunk beds?

    What's the maximum limit per room?

    Are there any rules on what they get to eat?

    Can I lock them in the room?

    These are the things that some in our society will be thinking if they try this, sad but true, this is doomed to be a total clusterf*ck where the victims will be the vulnerable.

  17. This is my handle

    Meanwhile on our side of the puddle...

    ... we still don't even have an NHS.

    We leave sick old folks to die in "nursing homes", as soon as their bank accounts have been liquidated by said homes.

    The way nature intended.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile on our side of the puddle...

      Unfortunately it's more and more the way things are done in the UK, too. Successive governments have had decades to prepare for this, given that the demographic data was absolutely clear, but none of them got off their useless arses. Combine that with a market-worshipping Tory party looking with eyelash-batting awe at the free-market USA just at the time a feckin' huge financial collapse gives them a long-awaited excuse to scale back public services, and millions of people over the next 25 years face ending their lives in unnecessary misery and poverty. But the politicians will survive it, of course, because their iridium-plated pensions will keep them safe and comfortable in the style to which they've become accustomed.

    2. BongoJoe

      Re: Meanwhile on our side of the puddle...

      We leave sick old folks to die in "nursing homes", as soon as their bank accounts have been liquidated by said homes.

      I saw my inheritance pay the for the care home owner to go on an overseas golfing trip every three weeks for two weeks at a time.

      Something somewhere is wrong with the system.

  18. rmason

    I've got a lovely 8 man tent.

    How many high are you allowed to stack them?

    Can the microwave "meal" be a 99p iceland job?

    Will foxes take pensioners? If so i'll need to chainlink fence the tent in.

    I think I could fit 40 or so hip-replacement recovering types in the tent, with the correct shelving system installed.

    1. Fink-Nottle

      > Will foxes take pensioners?

      You could just repurpose the floating duck house in your moat.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NHS England needs taken back 15 years

    The way it's headed there won't be an NHS in England in 10 years, it'll just be a lose connection of private companies whilst the rest of the UK holds onto a relatively fragmented organisation.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: NHS England needs taken back 15 years

      The way it's headed there won't be an NHS in England in 10 years

      There hasn't been for about 15 years. The 'N' part was discarded years ago when it was decided that each hospital could declare UDI and do its own thing.

      To paraphrase the old saying about the Holy Roman Empire - the NHS is neither national, nor healthy, nor a system.

      It's still light years better than what happens in the US though - especially in terms of health outcomes per curreny-unit spent.

  20. JimmyPage

    May I be the first to be recorded as saying:



  21. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Hoots Mon!

    A Scotsman writes with a grievance (yes there is sunshine outside, so I'm allowed). Why the UK in the headline when the article correctly states they asked NHS ENGLAND for a comment?

    Any evidence NHS Wales or NHS Scotland are thinking of doing the same Reg Subbies?

    1. fords42

      Re: Hoots Mon!

      NHS Scotland isn't run by eejits (well, mostly) and our gov actually has some sense.

  22. 0laf Silver badge

    But don't worry they'll be able to get to their AirNHS beds extra quick using the HS2 which serves everywhere with important people and they can claim everything back on expenses anyway.

    What do you mean you don't get expenses?

    But everyone gets expenses.

    Next you'll be telling me the subsidised restaurant in the place doesn't do foie gras.

  23. Flywheel Silver badge

    Gawd, this sounds like something Baroness Harding might have suggested on here first day (to impress the others).

    They might try asking a few virtue-signalling MPs with a dozen or so spare rooms in their trendy neighbourhoods - that'll determine how successful it'll be. You couldn't make it up could you?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fascinating Ignorance

    Posting anon, for reasons...

    There is a scheme that has been in operation for many years called "Shared Lives" that my wife and I are members of. It allows adults with learning disabilities to be cared for not by "the state" or other faceless organisations (e.g. Winterbourne View), but by people who have the time and care enough to provide a loving home environment. It's similar in principle to foster care for children. Presumably people think foster caring is a worthy profession?

    The shit-stirrers above would do well to understand that getting on to such a scheme is not easy by any means, and that checks are rigorous, as is continual training. Each person providing care is thoroughly vetted in a process taking at least a year. So no, you can;t just hire some cheap hands and pocket the difference.

    There are three types of care on offer. Day support allows service users (for that is their title) to be supported in activities for a few hours each day, whether is is bowling at the Kursal or arts and crafts. More relevant to this discussion are the other two types - respite care and long term placements. Here, someone can be placed for a period from one night to many years as appropriate.

    Clearly this model is being broadened to adults with physical or recouperative needs. Sounds like a damn good idea as it is both vastly cheaper for the bill payer, provides a reasonable income for the provider (no commuting costs, and if you have to be at home anyway to bring up kids it might be the only option) and better for the patient.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Fascinating Ignorance

      Downvoted because you are assuming too much about how the proposed scheme will work. Shared Lives grew organically, with a great deal of input from all concerned. This proposed system has none of these qualities - instead, there is a get-rich-quick doctor using his contacts in the health trust to line his pockets. If there was the slightest inkling that this was a grass-roots movement, I'd be supportive of the idea, but not at present.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not such a new or crazy idea

    Back in the '90's, my mother did something similar - She had a large house, was reasonably young (<50) and was by herself (after my father passed away). She ended up taking in 3 elderly people who would have otherwise been placed into a nursing home. The 'residents' weren't quite incapable of looking after themselves, but certainly could do with some help.

    It was a win-win all round. 3 people who would have otherwise been placed into nursing homes were taking into a family home where they were treated well, enjoyed the company of the family and my mother earned money which helped pay the mortgage and living expenses. At the time I think the scheme was called 'Home from Home' and, as far as I know, quite successful.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More coughbullshitcough

    Really annoys me. I never went into IT Consultancy because I just can't bring myself to bullshit people. Appears I'm missing a trick. Appears coming up with shit ideas and managing to sell them to clueless directors appears to be easy.

    Drives me nuts. I wonder if someone in that trust "knows" someone in CareRooms hence the "Trial". Much like a local government place I worked at where a certain company were bought it, without tender, to start on a "digital program". They made lots of money in the year they did this but never produced anything. That company was bought in by the new director who appears "knew them" before he joined.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: More coughbullshitcough

      Much like a local government place I worked at where a certain company were bought it, without tender, to start on a "digital program"

      Sounds like the Swindon wifi project - mysteriously, the sole supplier was run by someone well known to the councillor that managed to get it pushed into being.

      The project never delivered anything but somehow lots of council cash got paid out..

  27. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Seems like a good idea

    to me, I've got a spare room (actually its where I'm typing this right now, but I can move the computers out easily enough), its right next to the bathroom, so I'll stick my name down and get £1000/month

    And once a week , I'll ask for another patient and another £1000/week

    Due to the speed the civil/health service moves I think I'll be good for about 2 years before anyone notices that I seem to have several hundred patients...

    Oh and my house backs onto a dogfood factory.....

  28. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Vunerable patients are not the only concern

    Lots of remarks about ensuring that patients are not abused, but what about the other way around? Just because a person is a hospital patient does not mean they are harmless. What measures are in place to protect the homeowner who gets a patient who is a serial arsonist, or lets in their mate to steal the silver while you are out, makes long phone calls to Australia or abuses the homeowner's kids?

  29. 7teven 4ect

    For patients who smoke this will be easier for popping outside.

  30. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    This sounds like a really bad idea...

    Have people who are not trained in elder care pocket money in return for placing seniors in their spare rooms, scattering these retirees across the land on private property where monitoring and visitation are problems.

    (Soon to be featured on your local nightly news along with allegations of physicial abuse, robbery and feeding seniors pet food.)

  31. YARR

    Cornflakes and microwave meals v prisoners and asylum seekers

    With interest rates predicted to start rising soon, paring down the national debt ASAP is a prudent policy, but at what practical cost? Like all ideas, this could work well in some instances, but it depends on the judgement of the administrator and should remain the exception.

    I object that anyone would consider cornflakes and microwave meals a sufficient quality of nutrition for a recovering patient. What about patients with specific meal requirements? It could get complicated fast. It would have been better long term policy if they hadn't (permanently) closed down all those wards and sold off NHS land.

    I believe we spend more on secure accommodation for prisoners and asylum seekers than on patient care, I'd certainly put those groups further down the list of spending priorities. I can think of lots of ways to cut the cost of secure accommodation, but I don't want to attract too many downvotes from Guardian readers.

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    same for overcrowded prisons

    I wrote to the government last year with my AirHMP idea, HMPS pays you to lock convicts in your spare room. Oddly they never got back to me.

  34. d3vy Silver badge

    I've got an idea.. instead of having one or two patients per home they could use hotels, they could get hundreds in then.. they could give some of the hotel staff medical training and possibly pay doctors to be on site.

    Sorry... I've just realised that I'm describing a hospital. What they need to do is build and staff more hospitals instead of wasting more money on short term solutions like this.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Er, these are patients who no longer need to be in hospital, but who cannot yet look after themselves again.

      I'm not convinced that random b&b is the place for them, mind, but I've wondered before why the NHS and, say, Premier Inns can't do a deal at forty quid a night...

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Sorry... I've just realised that I'm describing a hospital.

      Or what (in the Good Old Days) was called "A Convalescent Home" - ie - somewhere where people who needed assistance following illness could go to recover. Staffed by a large number of assistants and, supervising them, trained medical staff.

      (My mother - a senior nurse - used to work in one)

  35. Richard Owen

    What would Have to say? Would they visit each place and offer...

    We rate most services according to how safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led they are, using four levels:

    Star Outstanding – the service is performing exceptionally well.

    Green smartie Good – the service is performing well and meeting our expectations.

    Yellow smartie Requires improvement – the service isn't performing as well as it should and we have told the service how it must improve.

    Red smartie Inadequate – the service is performing badly and we've taken enforcement action against the provider of the service.

    Grey smartie No rating/under appeal/rating suspended – there are some services which we can’t rate, while some might be under appeal from the provider. Suspended ratings are being reviewed by us and will be published soon.

  36. Solarflare

    You'll only be able to hire the east europeans up to March 2018! Then you'll have to make do with Brits wo won't want a menial job for £8k per year.

    Don't worry, at that point you can just hire apprentices and pay them as low as £3.50 (or lower if you can fiddle it). Then you'll be hailled as an entrepreneur who is giving something back to the youth by paying them while you give them life skills.

  37. David Roberts

    Needs more thought

    B&B to unlock beds has possibilities. I assume that all food and drinks are supplied, and meals just need microwaving. You couldn't rely on the home owner to source suitable (or not, depending on the hospital) food. No caring required, just simple services.

    For me, there are two big issues.

    (1) Visitors. Do you want the family and friends dropping in at all times of the day and night?

    (2) Mission creep. This could work for the mentally competent but frail who just need a week or two to get back on their feet. However desperate times encourage desperate measures and it won't be long before more difficult patients are palmed off by hospital administrators.

    One thing not clear. Is each provider on a £1k retainer per month or is it pro rata? If you are running at 40% occupancy you get all the hassle for 40% of the money.

  38. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    A classic procurement failure...

    Not everyone in hospital needs a full on hospital bed with nursing care etc immediately at hand. Many are just recuperating after an op and just need a check up every so often.

    Really the NHS is holding lots of people in full on hospital environments where they really just need a Travelodge style room and someone to check up on them occasionally. The answer is actually to build Travelodge style storage blocks in or near hospitals for the purpose. It'd cost much less than 2k/month.

    People like to see hospitals built when what we really need are basically barracks next to the hospitals.

  39. MrKrotos

    I have a nice large shed, how much a month for that?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    We were paying £1,200 a week for dementia care for one family member, haggled down to £850 a week for a room with no window and without the hourly hoovering of Rich Tea finger crumbs from the chest. Had an offer of reducing down to £650 if willing to share the understairs cupboard with the mops, buckets, brooms. The bed would only go in feet first due to the sloping ceiling. Moral of the story - it can always be done cheaper.

    On a more serious note, Brenda and Brian must have a few spare rooms between them.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where can I get this?

    Ensuite full board accommodation for less than £40 a day sounds like a bargain to me, do I have to be sick to qualify?

    That said: when my aged mum and confused had a fall and needed 24 hour care in Birmingham about 20 years ago she was moved to, if I recall correctly, West Heath hospital. It was an open ward so the old ladies could re-tell the same stories to each other time and again, the could call a staff member if one of the others was having difficulty, there were moderately homely dining and day-rooms and, frankly, she was happy as a pig in mud. It must have been much cheaper to operate than a ward dealing with more highly dependent patients.

    After a few weeks he was sent home with something laughably called a "care package". That meant a dopey girl on minimum wage dropping in for 30 mins a day to do very little plus "meals on wheels".

    She was alone, at the mercy of any dodgy door-to-door sales shark. I got her into a very pleasant private nursing home ASAP, nice gardens, entertainment, decent food, ensuite full board accommodation, own room, TV, phone for I think ~£400 a week (20 years ago remember) but still with less social engagement than in West Heath and without other patients to alert the carers if there was a problem and that's why her subsequent accident resulted in her death - in a private room there was nobody else around to see she needed help.

    I'm sure the West Heath concept would be regarded by some as degrading, warehousing, and delivering care on the cheap - maybe but a damn sight better than the care package or private care home - and SHOULD be cheaper than the private care home option.

  42. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Do note, this has now been shelved

    Southend Hospital backs off 'Airbnb beds' plan:

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Do note, this has now been shelved

      Seems they have been scared off even supporting a trial and assessing the outcome.

      So, unless some alternative care solution can be found, I guess those patients who would have been suitable for the trial and willing to engage in it will continue bed-blocking until discharged.

      I am not convinced that's a win.

  43. BongoJoe

    Step Down Hospitals

    Years ago we had a thing known as 'Step Down Hospitals'. These were places where patients could recover before being sent home and, thus, free themselves from the main hospitals where they would be blocking beds.

    The advantages of such places were many and all obvious: they would be staffed by trained nursing staff, the place would be more informal than a hospital, the costs would be lower than a main hospital and it enabled more vulnerable patients to recover fully without being discharged prematurely.

    And we have this suggestion.

    How would the carer feel about the patient, getting bored and restless, walking around the house in the daytime when they're not in? Who would change the patient's dressings and toilet them? Are three microwaved meals considered wholesome and nutricious when they are given each day and every day? What happens if the patient wishes to receive visitors? And what if the patient has a relapse, will the carer know the signs and will they be trained?

    These Step Down hospitals used to be all over the country and they were nearly always fantastic and did their job perfectly. But they have been sold off over the years or just simply left to crumble.

    It is these that the government should be reopening and not even considering this strategy.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dead in the water

    That is not a comment about a patient taking a bath in your house, but a comment on this ludicrous scheme. I hear fro Essex that there is NO NHS trust or council that is willing to take part in this !

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