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Recruitment starts for 60 jobs in new coronavirus step-down centre

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:06 26 April 2020

The former Cawston Lodge care home is to be turned into temporary beds for people discharged from Norfolk's hospitals. Pic:  Archant.

The former Cawston Lodge care home is to be turned into temporary beds for people discharged from Norfolk's hospitals. Pic: Archant.

Archant

Recruitment has started for the 60 jobs needed at a new centre, which will play a key role to ease pressure on Norfolk’s hospitals and care homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Louise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk. Picture: Ella WilkinsonLouise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Up to 40 temporary beds could be created in the former Cawston Lodge care home in north Norfolk, to support people discharged from hospital.

Norfolk County Council and the NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working to get the beds ready in case they are needed in the weeks and months ahead, with cases of coronavirus continuing.

They have identified the former care home in Paul Englehard Way, Cawston, which closed last year after just six months, as a site for extra beds.

The extra social care beds, funded through the NHS, would be used by people, including some who have had coronavirus, after they are deemed well enough to leave hospital, but still need extra support before they can go back home.

Health bosses say those recovering from Covid-19, whose symptoms are not severe, would be cared for with compassion and strict standards of hygiene and safety, to ensure the wellbeing of other residents and staff.

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The council has started recruiting for the 60 roles which will be needed within the home. Some will be filled by deploying experienced social care staff from within the council’s own workforce and those of partner organisations, but some will be new employees.

And the council is also weighing up possible locations for another of the so-called step-down units, if one is required.

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk, said the centre would play an important role in helping Norfolk cope with coronavirus.

She said: “We will get a point where people have a positive test or are awaiting results of a test, who need to be discharged from hospital.

“But at the same time, we also have care homes which are dealing with their own cases, or have shortages in staffing because they are unwell.

“It seems likely that the step down facility’s purpose will change over time, from getting people out of hospitals to a way in which we can have more flexibility in the system to be able to accommodate people and ease pressure on care homes.”


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