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Covid care home beds made available in Kent

At least 71 Covid care home beds will be made available across the county from next week.

The "hot homes" will be occupied by older patients that have tested positive for coronavirus and are being discharged from Kent hospitals.

71 care home beds are available
71 care home beds are available

The aim is to reduce a reliance on hospital overnight stays for elderly people who fall ill and offer more support in the community.

Clare Maynard, who is Kent County Council's (KCC) head of commissioning for older and vulnerable people, said: "We are quite confident that the number is sufficient for our needs."

There are 515 care homes based in Kent but a quarter of all Covid-19 deaths were reported at these sites from March to June.

Critics said that some residents who may have had the virus were sent back to care homes without a Covid test being taken, thus allowing the virus to spread to other vulnerable residents.

KCC's adult social committee was told on Wednesday about winter pressures the sector will face from December to March. Measures are in place to curb the spread of Covid in care homes and reduce the effects of the second wave.

In October, Whitehall issued a letter to local authorities requesting they name potential care home sites that can be used for taking in Covid patients.

Modelling has been carried out by KCC the local social care authority, to assess the level of demand required.

It has been forecast that there will be a need for between 40 and 50 beds, meaning there is currently "more capacity" available.

Cllr Ida Linfield (Lib Dem), who sits on the KCC panel, said: "Having 71 beds is brilliant because the council has more than it needs."

Three beds have already been "turned on" as hospital pressure has grown, with admissions increasing in the county.

More than half of the intensive care beds at Medway Maritime Hospital have been filled with coronavirus patients.

In October, Whitehall issued a letter to local authorities requesting they name potential care home sites that can be used for taking in Covid patients.
In October, Whitehall issued a letter to local authorities requesting they name potential care home sites that can be used for taking in Covid patients.

Last month, it emerged that seven "hot homes" could be created in the 13 districts this winter.

It was initially thought that more than 100 beds were needed in Kent and a list of sites was submitted by KCC and Medway Council on October 16.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) launched a review to ensure these locations were safe.

Ms Maynard said: "Not all of those sites were deemed suitable, so from Monday we will have 71 beds across the county, in the east and the west."

She added: "We are working with our health colleagues to make the system as flexible and reactive as possible.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Government has invested around £34million into KCC adult social care services since March to cover growing Covid costs.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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