Patients could be moved into hotels to ease pressure on NHS

Matt Hancock has said the NHS is considering plans to move some hospital patients into hotels to ease pressure.

Matt Hancock has said the NHS is considering plans to move some hospital patients into hotels to ease pressure. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Plans are being considered to move some hospital patients in England into hotels to ease pressure on the NHS.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the proposal was something being looked at to relieve pressures on hospitals.

In Norfolk, staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have said nurses are breaking down in tears, overwhelmed and nearing capacity due to rising coronavirus cases.

Critical care capacity at the hospital has been increased to 80 beds as part of its response.

Mr Hancock told Sky News: "There are huge pressures on the NHS and we are looking to all different ways that we can relieve those pressures.

"We would only ever do that if it was clinically the right thing for somebody. In some cases, people need sit-down care, they don't actually need to be in hospital bed.

"It isn't a concrete proposal by any means but it is something that we look at as we look at all contingencies."

Meanwhile, Mr Hancock has said coronavirus lockdown restrictions will remain in place in England for as "long as they are necessary".

Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Mr Hancock was asked if the latest data showed the country had hit the peak of this wave.

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The health secretary said: "Well, I want it to be.

"But, again, that comes down to the behaviour of everyone.

"We brought in this national lockdown, the rules are really simple, which is to stay at home unless you absolutely have to leave.

"We know that this can work because we know that the only way that the virus spreads is when people meet each other, or on surfaces.

"So, we can all play a part in making this happen - I know I must sound like a broken record on that but it's so important.

"Together we can make this the peak if enough people follow the rules, which are incredibly clear.

"Every time that you think, 'should I do that, should I go out for this reason, should I meet up with this person?' it's those individual decisions all together that determine whether this virus continues to spread and continues to increase its spread."

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