The solution to bed-blocking lies closer to home than policymakers think.

Recent articles in the Guardian and the Times have revealed the shocking extent of bed-blocking across the NHS and how alarmingly common it is in certain UK hospitals. Bed-blocking has been examined in previous Prestige blogs, and refers to situations in which individuals who – although well enough to leave hospital – are detained due to a lack of external care provision required to meet their post-hospital needs.

The Guardian’s research found that in some hospitals, such as Addenbrooke’s in Cambridgeshire, as many as 87 beds out of a possible 1,000 are occupied by bed blockers.

Widespread policy failures lie at the heart of this problem. Social care has for the most part been neglected by successive governments when pursuing healthcare agendas, resulting in an underfunded sector that often lacks a cohesive national policy. Councils often lack the necessary funds to actively meet the care requirements of those leaving hospital, which can result in long term hospital stays for the vulnerable.

On an individual level, this unnecessarily exposes the elderly to hospital viruses, isolates them and keeps them away from their homes and family for prolonged periods of time. On a systematic level, it can add huge amounts of pressure and cost to the NHS through limiting bed spaces and resources.

Prestige is a champion of homecare and knows that it can alleviate the pressures that bed blocking is putting upon NHS resources. Not only is homecare more cost effective than care homes (many of which cost more than councils are willing to pay), but it can also provide familiar and friendly setting in which the vulnerable are looked after.

Despite the negative case study provided in this article, home care and special support perform an invaluable role by allowing frail or unwell elderly people to return home. In many cases it means people can leave hospital sooner with guaranteed support for tasks in the home that would otherwise be too much. Yet constant cuts to social care budgets have undermined the work of local authorities, councils and the CQC, slowing their ability to get people back home and into the community.’

With the battle lines in the lead up to the election clearly drawn around the NHS and social care, all parties need to demonstrate their commitment to improving funding levels and reducing inefficient bureaucracy, red tape and loopholes. Only by doing this will the industry be able to operate effectively, with the best interests of the patient in mind and a reduced focus on the ‘bottom line’.

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Jobs FAQs

What shifts or rotas are available for professional carers?

Our branches have a wide variety of hours and rotas which means it’s possible to find shifts that fit in with your life situation, whether you want a full time role or are just looking for a few hours a week. All that we ask is that you commit to the hours you can do two weeks in advance.

Do I need care experience to join?

Six months’ professional care experience is ideal - such as a domiciliary carer, care assistant, homecare worker, support worker or healthcare assistant. However, if you are new to care some branches do offer training leading to care certificates, so please contact the recruitment team to discuss on 0808 239 9716.

Do I need a driving licence?

A full clean driving is required for some roles, but not all. Job roles normally state if a driving licence is required, but if you are unsure then please contact the recruitment team on 0808 239 9716.

What pre-employment checks do you do?

To join Prestige Nursing & Care as a professional carer you will be required to apply for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, unless you are registered with the update service.

We can help you apply via your local branch. When you work with children and vulnerable adults a DBS check is a legal requirement. Find out more about DBS checks: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service/about.

We also require two professional references, one of which should be your current or most recent employer.

Finally, you will be required to provide proof of eligibility to work in the UK, NI number, ID and proof of address. Your recruiter will talk you through all requirements and support you all the way.

What training do I need to complete before starting work?

You will need to complete both online e-learning modules and virtual training via Microsoft Teams. This is very flexible and can be completed from home as long as you have a compatible device. Find out more about the training we offer.

Is the training free?

Yes, the training is completely free.

Do you offer regular patterns of work?

Yes, our branches offer a wide variety of hours and shift patterns.

Will I be employed by Prestige Nursing & Care?

You would become a member of our team with a contract for services. You would be eligible for things like SSP and holiday, as well as a NEST workplace pension.

How old do you have to be to work as a carer?

You need to be 18 years old to join our care team and there is no upper age limit.

How often will I get paid?

We pay all our professional carers weekly.