Coronavirus: Bid to free up Norfolk hospital beds by getting patients into care homes

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Norfolk is 45. Picture: Chris Bishop

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Norfolk is 45. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Efforts are being made to get people out of Norfolk’s hospitals to free up beds in anticipation of the need to treat coronavirus patients.

Tom McCabe, head of paid service at Norfolk County Council. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Tom McCabe, head of paid service at Norfolk County Council. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The government has given Norfolk County Council nearly £27m to help with social care as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.

And Tom McCabe, head of paid service at County Hall and chairman of the Norfolk Resilience Forum’s strategic co-ordinating group, said it was important to help the NHS be in a position to treat as many people as possible.

He said the county’s hospitals were assessing those patients currently in acute beds and social workers were looking to get them into care homes or back in their own homes, with support, as appropriate.

He said: “It looks like peak virus is going to hit London a bit earlier than it is here, so there is a job going on at the moment, with medical professionals assessing patients, who will be moved out to the appropriate setting for them.


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“That could be care homes or it could be back in their homes with the appropriate support.

“Social workers are engaged and it will be us who will commission a range of beds and whatever support people need.”

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Mr McCabe said the county had “lots” of care places, but that it would come down to how long the pandemic continues - and whether staff are able to keep working.

Social workers are among those defined by the government as key workers.

He said: “We have got a huge care system in Norfolk, but the challenges could be in the four to six weeks when we are talking about potentially some 80pc of the population catching the virus and what impact that will have on those in the workforce.”

But Mr McCabe welcomed the government money which has come to Norfolk. He said: “The government has given us a decent amount of money there.

“What government wants us to do is get that money out there into the social care companies to keep the economy oiled, which will help us to move people into those care settings.”

There have been three deaths due to coronavirus n Norfolk’s hospitals. Two were in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn and one - a man in his 50s - was at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

All had underlying health conditions.

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