The NHS, local authorities and care homes are joining forces to tackle soaring Covid-19 cases across North Yorkshire with special care homes chosen to support discharged coronavirus patients to take the pressure off hospitals.

North Yorkshire County Council and the County’s three Clinical Commissioning Groups are working to create new discharge beds at care homes in Scarborough, Whitby, Craven and the Hambleton/Richmondshire area, in addition to an existing service in Boroughbridge.

Homes being used have to be approved as suitable by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The scheme follows on from work done in North Yorkshire during the first wave of the pandemic, when the groups created 'safer discharge' beds, provided separately in homes, to protect existing residents better.

Saint Cecilia’s Nursing Home in Scarborough is one of the homes, it also looked after discharged Covid-19 patients during the first wave of the virus. Managing Director, Mike Padgham said: "It's vital we have somewhere safe people can go to from hospital and we are proud to be able to offer that and make our contribution to the county effort.We all have to work together to get through this second wave, particularly during this difficult time when cases are rising so rapidly."

Beverley Proctor, Chief Executive of the Independent Chair Group said: "After an appeal from the Department of Health some providers have agreed to take in Covid-19 patients when they are discharged.

"They are only accepted to take patients if they meet the extremely high standards required around infection prevention and control. The social care sector is keen to support this and quickly provide the right environment for people to recover from Covid-19 whilst protecting the rest of the community from the virus."

Amanda Bloor of NHS North Yorkshire said: "As the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals around North Yorkshire continues to rise, it’s vital that older and disabled adults, who are otherwise medically fit to be discharged, have a place to go to where they can be cared for and looked after.

“The CQC has set stringent protocols which residential care and nursing home providers must meet before they are permitted to take in hospital patients with a Covid-19 diagnosis and I know there has been considerable effort to meet these high standards and maintain a separation between Covid-confirmed residents and those who are Covid-free."

Richard Webb, Director of Health and Adult Services at the County Council added: "It is important that we have some safe, secure places for people being discharged from hospital, who need a longer recovery from Covid-19. The new beds will provide the care that people need and will also be separated out from other residents, so that everyone is protected".