A controversial emergency care scheme which saw beds at a Weymouth hotel commissioned for NHS patients has come to an end.

The Best Western’s Hotel Rembrandt on Dorchester Road became a hospital unit for people not affected by coronavirus and who were medically fit to leave hospital.

These people couldn’t go directly back to their own homes as they were waiting for a social care help and support package.

The Grange Hotel at Oborne, near Sherborne, was also used.

Dorset Council is now working with the hotels to end the service and return all the equipment provided to set it up. It says the level of need has not been as high as had been first anticipated

The council claims there was a period of time when care and support in people’s homes became increasingly difficult to find, so the hotel-based care provision was created to make sure anyone who was able to leave hospital could do so in a safe way, while authorities worked with them to get the support they’d need to return home.

This interim arrangement, according to the council, meant they could continue their recovery in a more homely environment.

But the scheme received criticism from health campaigners, who questioned why the hotels were used while community hospital beds remained empty.

The council says it worked with health and social care partners to put joint plans in place so that the most critically ill people had access to the right help and support in hospitals and there were beds available to care for those with the highest level of need.

A council spokesman said: “The council would like to thank all parties, especially the hotels, for the efforts made to get things up and running so quickly. This gave valuable assurance that we could cope in the event of high demand. Luckily here in Dorset, the level of need has not been as high as had been first anticipated and the cases much lower in numbers.

As a result of this, we’re now confident that there is enough capacity in the care sector to support people in their own homes in a variety of ways without the need for the additional space in the hotels.

“We are continuing to look to the future at how the most vulnerable people can get the right help and support, in the right place at the right time and this will involve working with both statutory, voluntary, community and commercial partners in the area.”


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