Scare BnB

They really are off their trolleys with this one.

The proposed “Scare-bnb” scheme would involve paying homeowners to take care of hospital patients in their spare rooms.

Great idea, what could possibly go wrong?

If this planned-on-the-back-of-a-fag-packet scheme ever gets off the ground you can be sure there will be pressure piled on hospitals to move people out before they are ready. They will have targets imposed on them which will be difficult to meet without fudging the issue of whether a patient is actually ready to leave.

Will there be a genuine assessment of the patient or will they just be brow-beaten and guilt-tripped as a bed-blocker until they agree to leave?

Will the patient have a say in where they go? The suggestion is that the carer will not need any medical training. I wonder if William Hill have odds out on how long before someone dies in one of these “transition” spaces.

I can almost write the official response now. “We regret, blah blah… training issues… the system is robust…teething troubles… blah blah… undiagnosed underlying condition… they would still have died in a hospital…blah, blah, lessons will be learned.”

I wrote in a previous post that 33% of Brexiteers admitted in a survey to being racist (and 18% of Remainers).One can only assume that the actual figure is higher as many people are not going to admit to racism in a survey. What happens when a non-white patient is placed with a racist (or otherwise abusive) host? Will hosts (or patients) be able to reject on ground of race? What about gender or sexuality.

Will patients get their meals on time. Will bacon be slipped into Halal meals? (Worse has happened in actual hospitals including a muslim family finding the body of their deceased relative draped in pork in the hospital morgue.) If the mistreatment of the elderly in highly regulated care homes is anything to go by this will also happen in host homes even with prior vetting.

Look at children in care who have been mistreated by their carers, again a highly regulated and vetted cohort and yet abusers get through. We know from the Saville case that abusers deliberately seek out professions that will bring them into unsupervised contact with their preferred victims. They go to extraordinary lengths to gain access. To say that this proposal has not been thought through is an insult to the word understatement.

The proposal that those discharged will have no need for medical intervention is laughable. What if despite their best efforts they can’t make it to the toilet? Or something they eat disagrees with them and they are sick? They could be left in excrement and vomit for hours as I presume the host is not expected to be on duty 24/7.

Apart from the danger to patients, the scheme is exploiting the home owner. The maximum of £1000 per month might seem like good money but it works out at only £33 per day. For this the home-owner is supposed to provide three meals a day and ‘companionship’ as well as en suite accommodation, or at least a private bathroom. Last time I looked it was not possible to rent a room with a private bathroom on a daily basis on Air BnB for much less than £30 a day which means the meal budget is £3.00 per day and there is no payment at all for the host’s time. The Airbnb rate also assumes that guests can fend for themselves which is clearly not the case for a recuperating patient.

Carers are supposed to be provided for hosts but carers are so badly paid and overworked that they may not be able to provide the service.  (Not to mention the fact that many f these carers are EU national who will not be available after Brexit.) When they don’t show up who is going to clean up the blood, shit and  vomit, and wash and change sheets and towels. If a patient is or becomes incontinent this could be a task required more than once a day. Patients could be left to fester in their own waste (as has happened in the past ) unless the host chooses to go over and above.

What if a host decides it’s all too much and they want to hand back the patient? Will anyone actually come and collect them?

All of the above assumes that any system set up will run as planned but we know from the Universal Credit debacle that the bureaucracy could easily crumble under the weight of the service. Hosts will not get paid on time, or the correct amount or for the correct patients. They will be left ‘holding-the-baby’ when no one shows up to collect the patient at the end of the stay, and they will not get paid for the extra time.

They will not intend to take out their frustrations at the system on the patients in their care but you can be sure that they will. And the lessons from the pilot scheme will not be learned before a full nationwide role-out.

Everybody knows that Universal Credit does not work, the six week waiting period is leading to actual starvation and yet the government are adamant that they will role it out nationally.

How long will hosts have to wait to get paid? Again I’m willing to place my hard earned with William Hill’s that the private company charged with running the scheme will take money from the government but hang on to it as long as possible before paying hosts months in arrears. The kind of people willing to be hosts are likely to have largish homes (with equally large utility bills) but relatively low incomes. They might be tempted to skimp on patient meals if they are short of money.

I could go on (and on) about how bad this idea is but my fingers are getting tired. I can only hope they have lifted it from a reject script of “The Thick of it”. The trouble is, they mean it and while we are laughing our heads off at their latest idiotic wheeze they will actually go ahead and implement it.

Post Script.  At time of going to print the scheme has been kicked into the long grass due to the level of protests against it – resistance works!

 

Marcia Hutchinson MBE is a former lawyer and publisher of culturally diverse educational resources. 

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