£75 A Night for NHS Bed
Patients will face a £75-a-night “hotel cost” charge for hospital beds if the NHS crisis is not solved.
Senior bosses warned they will need to “think the unthinkable” if funding fails to keep up with soaring demand.
The shock admission came from Rob Webster; chief executive of the NHS Confederation which speaks on the behalf of all health service commissioners and providers.
He said: “If the NHS cannot afford to fund everything, then it will need to make tough choices about what it does fund.
“Do we think about increasing our tolerance for a longer wait for care, or do we say: ‘NHS funding is only for the health aspects of care and treatment’, which means patients being asked to cover their hotel costs for bed and board?”
NHS managers may also have to reconsider whether to offers surgery for some minor conditions, Mr Webster said. Another senior NHS source suggested overnight stay fees could be means-tested and set at around £75 per night.
Health service managers expect the NHS to plunge into the red either this year or next.
The NHS Confederation has said at least £2billion per year for two years is needed to maintain current levels of service.
All three main parties have pledged to protect or increase NHS spending in the next parliament.
A Department of Health spokesman said “The NHS will remain free at the point of use.”
Nick Cleggs £120million Mental Health Vow
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has today pledged £120million to tackle the crisis in mental health services in England.
The Deputy Prime Minister’s emergency fund will come into force next April to ensure children needing treatment for the first time will get it within two weeks.
£7million will help end the practice of young people being admitted to adult wards or denied help. Adults will be seen within 18 weeks.
NHS England will also provide 50 new inpatient beds, so children can receive treatment near their homes rather than up to 150 miles away.
And if the Lib Dems are elected to government again next May they will invest a further £500million – raised by axing tax breaks for the well off – in improving mental health services across the NHS.
The NHS has not been coping with children’s mental health problems.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham says: “Action to stop this is welcome. But Nick Clegg is part of a Government that has allowed mental health services fall into crisis.“
The management of our NHS by previous and present governments has lacked achievable direction and solidity. When money has been “thrown” towards it over the years, it has never been enough or been used to steady such an unwieldy and complex service.