Older patients could be transferred to 'hospital hotels' when recovering from illnesses as part of a government plan to free up more beds on NHS wards. The idea is that private hotel chains can provide rooms for patients to stay in, saving the health service millions of pounds each year. A similar scheme is already in operation in Scandinavia, where patients get the benefit of en-suite facilities, more flexible visiting hours and the benefit of not feeling like they are in a hospital. NHS England is currently reviewing the proposal. It is estimated that around 30,000 people are kept in hospital beds each year despite them being fit enough to leave. Each one of these costs the health service around £260 a day. A number of charities believe that older people often have no choice but to stay in a hospital bed because councils have cut funding for care homes in their area.
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