Sir – The plan to move older patients into care homes following hospital treatment (Herald, December 2) has much to commend it, not just in alleviating bed-blocking, but also for the benefit of the patient, since accommodation in a single room having en-suite facilities can often be provided, which has to be be more comfortable than a bed in a hospital ward.

How near is “as near to the patient’s home as possible”, though? I am aware of two Wantage residents who have recently spent several weeks in a care home in Watlington.

A visiting spouse was faced with a journey of about three hours each way by public transport, involving a change of bus in Oxford, or a round trip of 50 miles by car, which is a drive probably best not undertaken by someone in a state of anxiety and stress, several times a week.

Fortunately, family and friends between them provided transport when they were able to, but not everyone is in a situation to be offered such help.

I also sense that there is a need for better communication between the hospital, the patient’s GP and the care home, in order to ensure that monitoring procedures and administration of medication are rigorously performed, which can be critical in some cases.

There were occasional indications that the hospital and/or GP seemed to be unclear as to the patient’s location. Perhaps that aspect will improve with increasing experience of treating people at the care homes, as the plan develops.

Both these patients are now mightily relieved to be back in Wantage, cared for in their own homes.

Peter F Peck
Charlton Road