A HOTEL is spearheading a new drive to help tackle hospital bed blocking, whichcosts the NHS millions of pounds every year.

With budgets being cut and belts tightened in the public sector, the Grosvenor Hotel, in Westcliff, is hoping to step in and save the cash-strapped service some money.

The Grosvenor held an open day to show bosses from Southend Hospital what they can do to help patients needing somewhere appropriate to stay after they have been treated in hospital.

This week, for example, seven patients at Southend Hospital were medically fit to be discharged, but had no appropriate care.

Bed blocking happens when a person has to stay in hospital because there is nowhere for them to go and be looked after.

The knock-on effect means other people can’t go into hospital for treatment because the bed is taken up by that patient.

The Grosvenor’s “Halfway Home” scheme will offer a place for people to go when they are discharged from hospital, but are waiting for a place in a care home or for their home to be adapted.

The hotel, in Grosvenor Road, is giving half of its 40 rooms over to allow patients to be cared for in a more homely environment and free up hospital beds.

Owner Pat Henstock said he would work with Caring Carers, based in Weston Road, Southend, to offer accommodation, transport and care for disabled and elderly people.

He said: “I have been working on this for five years to try and stop bed blocking. The two of us can come together and save the NHS a lot of money. It is a win-win situation.

“Southend West MP David Amess has been helping me with the finance side of it.”

Mr Henstock said the hotel would carry on with its normal trade of catering for elderly and disabled people who want to come to the seaside on holiday.

He said: “The building has disabled access, we have always done holidays for the elderly and disabled.

“This will be a way of keeping the business going, improving the local economy and employing people.

“Our holiday side of the business has been a bit slow for two years, we will run this alongside the business. We will still do holidays for our customers.”

The open day showed hospital bosses, MPs and councillors what the plans are and how it could benefit the local community.

If the hotel is successful, NHS patients could be referred to stay there and Caring Carers will look after the patients.

Noma Moyo, partner of Caring Carers, said: “We are working with Pat to do the care and he provides the facilities. We were introduced by a mutual friend and we started talking. We realised that this could work for the bed blocking and it could benefit everybody.

“It works for the hotel, for the carers, for the NHS and mainly for the patients, so they are not stuck in hospital.

“When it is time for them to come and recover they can come to the hotel.”