Spare rooms plan can’t solve NHS overcrowding

Spare rooms plan can’t solve NHS overcrowding


30 October 2017

Mannie Sher’s commentary in the Guardian on the latest NHS airbnb plan for the elderly…’Spare rooms plan can’t solve NHS overcrowding’

Sher writes : ‘Rising numbers of bed-blockers will not be addressed by shifting the problem on to private landlords. The proposal smacks of foster care for the sick and elderly, and is simply a case of moving the gridlock elsewhere. Local authorities should be given the resources to do their work to ensure the smooth transfers of patients through the health and social care system. Instead, the needs of the sick and elderly receive short shrift. Elderly patients are better off at home and are less likely to die there because the place and the people are familiar to them; they benefit from support from families, their communities and voluntary and statutory services.

Our society appears unconsciously to be driving elderly parents to their graves in order, perhaps, to lighten the financial and emotional burden of caring for them. Last week, the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations and the Centre for Ageing Better heard people in their 70s and 80s discuss their fears of loss and vulnerability, their terrors of abandonment, their apprehension about falling, and their fears of illness and of dying alone. Private rental schemes will only exacerbate these fears and ultimately lead patients back to hospital.

Elderly people still have much to offer society in terms of learning, development and creativity; perhaps it would be better to learn from them, rather than assume we know best how to care for them.

Dr Mannie Sher
Tavistock Institute of Human Relations

You can read the full article in the Guardian here.

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