Best Western could see up to 500 of its member hotels turned into ‘cottage hospitals’ in a bid to help ease pressure on the NHS amid the surge in coronavirus cases.
The hotel group confirmed to BH that it has spent the last nine months working with medical experts to devise a proposal to transform its hotels into hospitals to be used for assessments, scans or post-Covid recovery.
The plan, which has followed Care Quality Commission guidance and has a feasibility study behind it, is now with the Cabinet Office who will assess whether to give the scheme the green light.
The sites would handle three areas to help the NHS; the resumption of outpatient appointments; rolling out the vaccine and isolation accommodation for key workers.
Speaking to BH, Rob Paterson, chief executive at Best Western GB said: ““This has been nine months of work behind the scenes with some of the country’s leading medical minds, to ensure this is viable, safe solution to help the country through Covid.
“We would focus on 3 key areas to help the NHS. Resumption of outpatient appointments at our hotels e.g. similar to cottage or community hospitals, to deal with the backlog and reduce indirect deaths or health problems due to Covid.
“We would help roll out the vaccines in our hotels, taking the procedure into the communities we already know and make it easier for older people to attend.
“And we would provide safe isolation accommodation for NHS staff to reduce Covid infection on hospital sites. We have the logistics, insurance, governance, medical and hospitality expertise ready and waiting to roll this out nationwide, we are just waiting on a decision from the Cabinet Office.”
“We want to see the country open again for business, education and leisure as soon as is safely possible and we believe our offer can help do that, by shortening the second national lockdown.”
“If this is green lit we would encourage other hotels to join the network too.”
The hotel chain is already in talks with St Bartholomew’s NHS Trust in London and Kent Medway Trust about converting some of its premises.