Could drones solve bed-blocking in NHS hospitals?

All too often there are stories about how patients are stuck in hospitals because they don’t have help at home. I had five days in the hospital, and the first question that was asked before I was discharged – Is someone able to help you when you get home? Because if not, your staying a couple extra days. Thankfully the question was ‘yes’. But what about those people who are well enough to leave, but don’t have anyone to help them do the shopping, pick up prescriptions or deliver clean laundry.

Now drones could be deployed to help with these everyday tasks. Yesterday it was announced that Nats, the national air traffic control service that drones could safely co-exist with aircraft in the UK’s busy skies. This is a huge shift in how the regulator has previously viewed drones, especially because in the past they’ve said that drones need to be kept within in the sight of the person operating it.

According to The Times: “A trial system of drones co-exisiting with aircraft would be in place by the end of the year, with routine out-of-sight drone operations possibly starting next year or in 2020.”

I’m not saying that drones could take the place of social care workers; this is wholly about drones dropping vitals off to people who are well enough to be discharged from the hospital. If used correctly, it could help elevate some of the stress hospitals face when beds could be freed for incoming patients.

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