Online care home bed booking system aims to cut hospital bed blocking

BBC News published the following article on 21 March, 2017: 

Online care home bed booking system aims to cut hospital bed blocking

An online system is aiming to reduce hospital bed blocking by allowing real time bookings of care home beds.

Bed Finder is being used by Hertfordshire County Council and is thought to be the first system of its kind to streamline referral processes and make searching for and booking beds more efficient.

One of the biggest issues facing hospitals across the UK is finding places for usually elderly patients who are medically fit, but need further care packages - so-called bed blockers.

"We spend a lot of times on the telephone trying to establish where the vacancies are in homes," said Christine Hartley, from Hertfordshire County Council.

"Phoning round the homes and getting an answer, I'd perhaps only get two answers [out of 10 or more] and yet I'd spend all that time on the phone."

The system, developed by the OLM Group, is said to have cut bed booking times by up to 50%.

In future it is hoped the app will be available for the public to use.

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The Care Co-Operative’s view is: “There is no point simply finding a vacancy. It must be the right home in the right location and at the right price for the care seeker.”