Patients to be moved into hotel to free up hospital beds

The pilot scheme, due to begin within weeks, is targeted at patients who are ready to leave hospital but need extra care support.

A patient arrives by ambulance to Southend University hospital
A patient arrives by ambulance to Southend University hospital

Hospital patients are to be moved into a hotel in a bid to free up beds amid “enormous pressure” on NHS services.

Up to 15 patients will receive care at a city centre hotel in Norwich in a pilot scheme that will last three months, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said.

The area’s health and care system remains in a critical incident.

Covid-19 patients will not be moved to the hotel, the CCG said.

The pilot, due to begin within weeks, is targeted at patients who are ready to leave hospital but need extra care support before they can get home.

Cath Byford, the CCG’s chief nurse, said: “This will help to speed up the passage of patients through our local hospitals so that we can make more beds available for those who need them most.”

She said NHS staff have been “working tirelessly to ensure that people get the medical help they need as quickly and as safely as possible during this time of enormous pressure on our services”.

“This innovative pilot will provide a short-term, safe, ‘home from home’ environment for people to move to from hospital when they are well enough but when they are not quite ready to go home without support,” she said.

She added that the approach has been “used successfully in other regions”.

Patients staying in the hotel will be cared for by staff from Abicare, a CQC-registered provider which has experience of delivering the service in other areas of the country.

Anne-Marie Perry, managing director of Abicare, said: “We are keen to help where we can and be flexible in our response to current challenges that exist in the system.

“We have over two years’ experience of running care hotels and we find their success depends on the co-operative collaborative approach adopted by CCGs such as Norfolk and Waveney.

“Care hotels are an excellent example of a proactive short-term solution that can be readily set up as they are needed, utilising resources that exist within the community.”

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