SCOTS patients are being put up in plush hotels because hospitals don’t have enough beds.
It has been reported today (Sun) that three of Scotland’s 14 NHS boards have used private hotels to accommodate patients in the last four years.
The details revealed under freedom of information laws showed that in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area patients were being put up at the Glynhill in Renfrew and the Watermill in Paisley.
The Glynhill boasts a swimming pool, gym, sauna and steam room as well as rooms with king-sized beds and flat-screen televisions.
The board also used the Ramada at Glasgow Airport, the Holiday Inn Express and Station Cottages in Balloch.
Officials could not provide evidence of the overall cost of the scheme but did reveal that within the surgery and anaesthetics wards, 260 patients had been booked into hotels at a cost of 16,635.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway paid the Aston Hotel in Dumfries around 60 a night to put 13 patients up
“during periods of excessive bed pressure.”
And NHS Lothian also paid for patients to stay in hotels.
Other health boards, including Ayrshire and Arran, Grampian and Highland, have built their own in-house patient lodgings.
Margaret Watt, of the Scotland Patients’ Association, said that the situation was
“Not only does it pave the way for backdoor privatisation but it shows hospitals don’t have enough capacity. “
And Emma Boon, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said:
“It’s worrying health boards can’t say how much they’re spending on this.
“It’s also concerning they have to resort to this at all because it shows there are still problems with bed capacity. “
Figures show that the number of available beds in Scotland’s hospitals has fell by almost 6% in the last ten years.
Last year there were 17,099 compared to 18,091 in 2001.
A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said:
“There are two hospitals which, when necessary, offer patients hotel accommodation – the Royal Alexandra and the Vale of Leven.
“It’s normally offered to patients who are being admitted for early morning surgery and who live outwith an acceptable travel time. “
A spokesman for NHS Dumfries and Galloway said that it books patients into a local hotel
“to enable scheduled operations to take place rather than postpone for patients living at a distance.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said:
“It is the responsibility of all NHS boards to ensure value for the public purse.
“Bed numbers have been reducing since 2001 as a result of the increasing number of day cases, patients experiencing shorter waits, fewer returning outpatients and more patients being seen in community-based settings. “