North Walsham War Memorial Hospital has become the main unit for Covid patients across Norfolk needing community nursing care.
The 24-bed unit is dealing with people who are being discharged from the county’s three acute hospitals, but who are in need of extra recovery before returning home.
A suite of three portable buildings has been added to the site to provide the staff with changing, shower and locker facilities and means the ward can run separately from the rest of the hospital, which is still dealing with outpatients needing services such as physiotherapy.
The Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has chosen North Walsham as the main ward to receive coronavirus patients.
It is partly because staff managed Covid patients well during the first wave, said clinical quality director (north) Del Mitchell.
Previously there was a mix of Covid and non-Covid patients. Having Covid-only helped reduce cross contamination, and made things easier for staff.
The North Walsham ward is receiving patients from the Norfolk and Norwich, James Paget at Great Yarmouth and Queen Elizabeth at King’s Lynn.
A Day Room, which was converted for overspill beds, has been returned to its original purpose. One additional Health Care Assistant has been taken on for each 12-hour shift.
Non Covid patients who would normally go to North Walsham will be sent to other units such as Pine Heath ward at Kelling Hospital.
The Trust’s director of nursing and quality, Carolyn Fowler said the change of status at North Walsham would be “reviewed on a regular basis, but is likely to remain necessary during the winter months, or however long is deemed necessary to support the COVID pandemic locally.
“I would like to reassure you that rigorous infection prevention and control policies are in place to ensure patient and staff safety.”
Mrs Fowler thanked the Friends for our “care and support to our patients and staff.”