'Strong-arm tactics' used to clear hospital beds

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The Independent Online
ELDERLY patients are facing psychological pressure and court orders to get them to leave NHS hospitals beds for private care homes, where they often have to pay, the Patients Association said yesterday, writes Nicholas Timmins.

Linda Lamont, the association's director, said: 'We are advising them to stay put - at least until it is clear who is going to pay the bill.'

With the NHS cutting back on long-stay beds, 'patients are facing some pretty strong- arm methods to get them out of acute beds, including one case we know of where the hospital took out a court protection order', she said.

'One has to have some sympathy for the consultants . . . They are under strong pressure from management to get fast throughput and earn the money to keep their hospital going, but it can be very unpleasant for patients.'

It showed, she said, the urgent need to clarify what long-term care the NHS had a duty to provide.