Hospital becomes centre for Covid patients waiting to return to care homes

The ownership of Newmarket's community hospital will be transferred to West Suffolk NHS Foundation T

Newmarket Hospital has been adapted to become a 'designated setting' - Credit: Archant

Newmarket Hospital has been adapted to become a centre for discharged Covid-19 patients waiting to return to care homes.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) asked all local authorities to create "designated settings", where care home residents previously in hospital with a positive Covid-19 test can stay before returning home.

The government says the scheme will "allow people with a Covid-positive test result to be discharged safely from hospitals", adding: "This is to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in care homes and will allow for a focus on the care that people who have contracted Covid-19 need."

Plans have been submitted for an extension at Newmarket Community Hospital Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The arrangement with Newmarket Hospital helps provide additional bed capacity at a time when the NHS is under great pressure - Credit: Archant

As such the West Suffolk Alliance - a group made up of healthcare organisations such as West Suffolk Hospital, the Suffolk GP Federation, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust and Suffolk County Council - have turned Newmarket Hospital into a designated setting.

"A key focus has been ensuring people are moved out of hospital to an appropriate setting as soon as they are ready to go," a West Suffolk Alliance report said at a recent West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group meeting. 

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"Newmarket Hospital has been repurposed as a centre for looking after people, who although they do not need hospital treatment, are testing positive for Covid-19 and are unable to return to their normal place of residence for a period.

"This is called a 'designated setting' and provides additional bed capacity.

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"This work has also meant that people are now able to be cared for closer to their homes, rather than travelling to other setting in the county, which had been the previous option."

The report added that "bridging care has also been increased to support people where there is a gap between leaving hospital and their regular care being reinstated".

It went on to say: "This has been a challenge as homes are sometimes not able to take new residents due to local Covid-19 infections and have been struggling with staffing due to their own teams being unwell."

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