A Bideford hotel is set to play a major part in helping the NHS in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Durrant House Hotel has been identified as a facility to take care of patients who are well enough to leave hospital, but not ready to return home.
The move will free up acute hospitals, giving them the extra capacity they need to care for additional numbers of patients presenting with Covid-19.
Rooms in the hotel have been fitted with temporary equipment to assist with care, including nurse call alarms.
Care within the facility will be provided by an experienced Devon County Council care home manager and care staff, as well as care staff recruited through the council’s recent Proud to Care campaign.
Local NHS nurses and therapists can also provide daily support.
The hotel’s catering staff will provide meals for residents, who would stay on average for about 2 weeks.
Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for adult care and health, said: “We are very fortunate in the south west that we have not seen the same levels of cases compared to other areas of the country, so the demand on our hospitals has not been as high as those early forecasts were suggesting.
“That does not mean that we are out of the woods by any means, and it’s right that we continue to make contingency plans.
“The Durrant Hotel is on standby should it be required. It will be for people who do not need to be in acute hospitals, but who require extra care before returning home or until residential or nursing places can be found for them.
“It could also be used by people with care needs who have been living at home, but who can no longer do so – if their carer becomes unwell, for example.
“I was delighted to visit the facility, meet with the manager and local Member, and hear about the this excellent addition to our services in this area!.”
Councillor Andrew Eastman, local member for Northam, said: “I am delighted. Councillor Leadbetter has worked hard to achieve such a fitting hotel as the Durrant to be available for patients leaving hospital and needing care and accommodation.
“The luxurious surroundings of the hotel will help patients with their recovery, and the excellent staff will ensure that they are very well cared for.”