Details emerge of Norfolk's new 'care hotel'

The Holiday Inn in Ipswich Road, Norwich, is to be used as a care hotel

The Holiday Inn in Ipswich Road, Norwich, is to be used as a care hotel - Credit: Archant

New details have emerged about Norfolk's first 'care hotel', which will see patients receiving hospital treatment at a Holiday Inn on the outskirts of Norwich.

The scheme is intended to free up beds at the county's hospitals by providing care for people, who are not quite ready to be sent home, in rooms at the hotel on Ipswich Road in the south of the city.

The facility - which will run for an initial three month period - will provide 24/7 care and will be staffed by health workers from out of the county, rather than workers redeployed from the region's existing care system.

The details emerged at a meeting of Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) governing body.

Chief nurse Cath Byford told the meeting that all staff at the care hotel will be outsourced, meaning existing care staff in Norfolk and Waveney would not be redeployed to run the facility - which will care for 15 patients at a time.

The Holiday Inn in Ipswich Road is to be used as a care hotel

The Holiday Inn in Ipswich Road is to be used as a care hotel - Credit: Brittany Woodman

She said: "The care hotel will be funded through system finances and we will be doing so for an initial three month period during which we will assess the impact of it.

"There will be 15 rooms for people to be discharged to and these will be people who could go home but for shortages of domiciliary care workers.

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"Carers will be there 24/7 and will be provided by Abicare, who will be provided staff that have experience of running care hotels across the country. They will be bringing their own staff from other parts of the country so we will not be robbing Peter to pay Paul to staff it."

The facility will not care for Covid-19 patients, but instead those who would otherwise have been sent home with domiciliary care - but who would otherwise be kept in hospital due to shortages in this provision.

Cath Byford

Cath Byford, chief nurse at the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group. - Credit: Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group

The care hotel plan was unveiled as a measure of helping health services in Norfolk and Waveney recover from a critical incident, which has seen a raft of measures brought in to alleviate pressure on services.

These included the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital being forced to cram extra beds onto wards to cope with demand.

Ms Byford added the critical incident had meant "patient experience and quality had to take a step back".

NHS vaccine mandate

During the meeting, Anna Morgan, the CCG's director of workforce, said losing staff over the NHS Covid vaccine mandate was far from an ideal situation.

Under legislation passed earlier this year, any staff members that have not had at least one dose of the vaccine by February 2 would either have to be redeployed to non-patient-facing roles or face the sack.

She said: "We will try to redeploy as many of our staff members as we can but the majority of our roles are patient-facing.

"We will look at any opportunities across the system to redeploy people who do refuse to have the vaccine."

But she added: "Ending somebody's career is the last thing we want to do but we may have no choice in the matter.

"We will do everything we can to give these people a choice."

Across the region's health trust, more than 90pc of staff are currently vaccinated - but still up to 1,000 staff members could face losing their jobs over the mandate.