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Norfolk hospital given 200 extra beds to help battle coronavirus

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A Norfolk hospital will have more than 200 extra beds for patients from across the East of England as part of the NHS’s battle against the coronavirus outbreak.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has been made a regional surge centre and will offer care to the sickest Covid-19 patients from across the region.

The hospital also plans to create a new isolation ward in its grounds in order to expand critical care capacity and free up bed spaces for incoming patients.

The site normally has 36 beds equipped with ventilators for critically ill patients and plans to open a further 60 to meet demand sparked by the virus outbreak.

In its role as the region’s first surge centre, the hospital will make 170 further beds available.

Chief executive Sam Higginson said: “The regional surge centre at our hospital will play a crucial role in the East of England’s response to coronavirus, and is ready to take patients, if needed, from across the region.

“However, our ambition has to be to continue to stay at home to cut infections and save lives – so that the need to actually use this facility is as limited as possible.”

The hospital opened a second emergency department earlier this month which, alongside the new isolation unit, will free up space for the regional surge centre within the existing hospital.

Ann Radmore, NHS East of England director, said: “This regional surge centre will provide backup and support for NHS hospitals and will ensure patients needing specialist care can get the support they need.”

Existing NHS staff, deployed as needed from across the region, and returning and training clinicians will staff the centre.

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