The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how our hospitals can reach crisis point easily. The ageing demographic of the UK over the past half a decade as well as technological advances in medicine and surgery mean that more people are living to old age. Those same advances mean that most elderly people admitted to hospital have multiple health problems. After these have been treated, many remain in hospital because there is no suitable care facility for them to go into. They take up the beds which then prevent acutely ill patients from being admitted.
There are also younger patients who are in hospital when they don‚’t actually need acute medical or nursing care but are just not deemed well enough to go home. Admission to a rehabilitation hospital with skilled carers and a resident doctor and nurse – but in a far smaller ratio per 100 patients than in hospitals – would be useful.