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NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is set to open a new innovative temporary care facility for people who are ready to leave hospital but need extra care support before they can get home.

This means vital hospital beds can be freed up to support those who need inpatient care in a hospital setting, according to the CCG.

It comes as the area’s health and care system remains in a ‘critical incident’ due to sustained and unprecedented pressures on services.

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The new pilot care hotel in Norwich will cater for up to 15 patients on a short-term basis for three months. It will be temporarily used as an extra care facility for people who are ready to leave hospital but need extra care support before they can get home.

The concept has been given the backing by the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system and is expected to open in the next few weeks.

There will be strict criteria around who is eligible for a bed and people with confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis or those displaying symptoms will not be suitable for the care hotel and will be cared for in more appropriate settings.

Cath Byford, Chief Nurse at NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Colleagues across our health and care system 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. 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.

“This is the first time we have tried this new approach in Norfolk and Waveney, although the model has been used successfully in other regions.”

Care for people staying at the care hotel will be provided by trained carer staff from Abicare, a CQC-registered provider, which has experience of delivering this service in other areas of the country.

Anne-Marie Perry, Managing Director of Abicare, added: “Abicare are extremely proud to be helping the NHS in these challenging times. 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 cooperative 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.”

On a national scale, the NHS has introduced one-off personal health budgets to ensure patients are discharged from hospital in a timely manner and have access to the care they need after a stay in hospital.

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