Coronavirus recovery centre never used in first wave to be opened

Cawston Lodge the new step down centre, where people in Norfolk will go when they're recovering from

Cawston Lodge opened last year, but was never used. - Credit: Archant

A centre where people discharged from hospital can recover from coronavirus is due to reopen in Norfolk - having never been used in the first wave of Covid-19.

Norfolk County Council spent £800,000 to create the step down centre in the former Cawston Lodge care home.

The centre was meant to ease pressure on hospitals and care homes by taking in patients recovering from Covid-19.

It was registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and opened in May last year.

But the centre, with capacity for 45 patients, was never used and it was mothballed in August.

Most recently, North Walsham Hospital has been used as the main location for Covid-19 patients discharged from Norfolk hospitals.

Cawston Lodge the new step down centre, where people in Norfolk will go when they're recovering from

Staff were trained up at Cawston Lodge, but it was not used in the last coronavirus wave. - Credit: Archant

The county council has since passed operation of Cawston Lodge to East Coast Community Healthcare and North Norfolk Primary Care.

But people living near the centre in Paul Engelhard Way, Cawston, questioned why it is not being used at a time when hospitals are under pressure and concerns have been raised about staff shortages in care homes.

They said staff at the centre said "red tape" was holding up its use - and it has emerged it has yet to be registered with health watchdogs.

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Dr Peter Lawson, chairman of North Norfolk Primary Care, said: "We are working closely with the CQC to ensure the site is safe and fully checked before it is formally registered.

"We expect this final sign off imminently.

"We, North Norfolk Primary Care, will be running the facility with East Coast Community Health and our staff are ready to accept patients as soon as we have all the registration checks completed.”

A spokesman for the CQC said: "I can confirm that CQC has received an application to register Cawston Lodge as a designated setting.

"Applications for services wishing to register as designated settings are being processed as quickly as possible, while ensuring that the required due diligence is being undertaken to ensure any services that are approved are able to meet standards that people should be able to expect."

The pressure on Norfolk hospitals was made clear last week, when bosses at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital said military personnel were being deployed to help them cope.

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