People being treated for Covid-19 are set to be cared for at community hospitals across North Staffordshire – it has been announced today.
Royal Stoke University Hospital said beds would be provided at Haywood Hospital, Harplands, Bradwell, Leek Moorlands and Cheadle – with other facilities also being ‘brought on line’ if the need was there.
The hospital expects to see an increase in demand in the coming weeks due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has so far claimed more than 7,000 lives across the UK – including at least 65 at Royal Stoke.
The decision to use beds at the community hospitals comes months after the Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) made a final decision to reduce the number of rehabilitation beds in the area from 264 to 134 – with the beds all due to close permanently at Leek, Cheadle, Bradwell and Longton Cottage Hospital – despite significant local opposition.
In a statement the hospital said it was working with partners to provide acute beds in hospitals around North Staffordshire – rather than sending patients and staff to the temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital which is being set up at the NEC in Birmingham.
The beds will be for patients who have tested positive for the virus and require ongoing care – and will be staffed by ‘health care professionals from the Trust, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) and wider system partners.’
Tracy Bullock, UHNM Chief Executive, said: “UHNM along with health and social care partners have agreed that the geography of the Birmingham Nightingale Hospital would not provide the best possible solution for our staff, who would have been required to help support the facility, or for our patients who would have a significant journey for the on-going care that they will need and that a local solution would be preferable.
“We have been working with our partners and our clinical teams to develop plans to put the system in the best place possible to care for all our patients locally in what we know will be extremely challenging times.”
Staffordshire Moorlands MP Karen Bradley said she welcomed plans for Leek’s Moorlands Hospital to be used to treat patients.
She said: “I am very pleased that the NHS will use the facilities at Leek to treat people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This vote of confidence in the facilities at Leek proves the long term future for the site.”
As of Wednesday evening Public Health England said 130 people had tested positive for the virus in Stoke-on-Trent along with another 673 in the rest of Staffordshire.
There have now been a total of 7,097 deaths at hospitals across the UK – with 60,733 confirmed cases. Due to limited testing the actual number of cases will be far higher.
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