As hospitals and care facilities are continuing to struggle with capacity due to the current wave of COVID-19, a group of UK hoteliers are working with the government and National Health Service trusts to accommodate patients in safely adapted hotels.
Jonathan Maxwell, Founder of the Process C-19 initiative which called for the collaboration, says ‘Process C-19 was established as a not-for-profit organisation during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. It was founded by leaders from hospitality, medicine and infrastructure to work with hotels to help increase capacity in the NHS. We believe that hotels can act as a crucial pressure value for hospitals, serving to help with discharge, rehabilitation and even outpatients’.
As part of this initiative, Best Western CEO Rob Patterson has offered NHS Trusts a solution ‘to provide immediate and enduring help within the context of the very severe shortages of capacity for acute trusts up and down the country caused by the current pandemic.’ This solution offers repurposed hotel sites to provide a clinically-led service including appropriate clinical and care arrangements, cleansing and infection control, patient monitoring, fully compliant PPE, provision of dietary services and food, clinical waste management, medication support and admission and discharge arrangements.
Hospitality company the London Hotel Group was able to deliver the initiative’s first results, having opened the Best Western Plus London Croydon Apart Hotel to accepting Covid+ Clients referred from the NHS and Local Authorities in self-isolation accommodation units. CEO Meher Nawab says ‘We would like to continue supporting the NHS and Local Authorities nationwide and have many hotel owners who would like to support the cause in a similar way.’ Oxsana Hospitality, a membership organisation within the UK hospitality industry, also supports the initiative: ‘Oxsana has 185 hotels across the UK that are ready, willing, and able to collaborate and join the fight against the Covid 19 virus’ says Chairman Al Malik.
On 13 January Health Secretary Matt Hancock said moving patients to hotels "isn't something we are actively putting in place". Since then, over 40 hoteliers have added their names to a call for support, and communications have taken place between NHS authorities and hotels involved in the initiative. Rob Paterson says ‘We are delighted that senior NHS officials have accepted our offer of help and equally thankful to all the brave hotel operators and their teams for stepping forward in a time of crisis. Hospitality has endured a firestorm of devastation, yet still in these circumstances, brushed aside the flames and put themselves forward as part of the solution to our National Health crisis.’
Meanwhile in the US, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has offered hotel properties as vaccine administration sites across the country in a letter to the Biden Administration transition team, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, National Governors Association, Operation Warp Speed and the U.S. Conference of Mayors . According to the AHLA, hotels are uniquely positioned to help with vaccine rollout thanks to their geographic reach, availability of private and meeting rooms as well as outside spaces, ensuring there is adequate space to maintain physical distancing, capacity limits and other safety protocols.