At the end of last month Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, visited the new NHS Seacole Centre at Headley Court where he praised the efforts of all those involved in getting the new service up and running, and unveiled plans for similar services in other parts of the country.

The NHS Seacole Centre, at Headley Court Surrey, is the first of its kind in England, and will be used as a temporary service for local patients who are recovering from Covid-19 and who no longer need care in an acute hospital, or those who have the virus and can no longer cope with their symptoms at home.

Sir Simon Stevens said: “In response to the greatest health emergency of our time, frontline and support staff across the NHS have moved heaven and earth to provide expert care for over 90,000 Covid patients treated in our hospitals over just the past 90 days. While our country is now emerging from the initial peak of coronavirus, we’re now seeing a substantial new need for rehab and aftercare for Covid patients who’ve come through this terrible illness.

“Some may need care for tracheostomy wounds, ongoing therapy to recover heart, lung and muscle function, psychological treatment for post-intensive care syndrome and cognitive impairment, while others may need social care support for their everyday needs like washing and dressing.

“So the next phase of the health service’s coronavirus response will mean expanding and strengthening community health and care services in new ways, such as these new Seacole Centres.”

The Seacole Centre Surrey will be an important part of how people in the South East can be supported in the months ahead.

Over 100 staff members have already been recruited to work in the facility, with initial plans to open 130 patient beds, with capacity for up to 300 if they are needed.

Clinical Director of the NHS Seacole Centre, Dr Hilary Floyd, said: “We know that recovering from coronavirus can take a long time and symptoms can continue, and we are delighted to offer comprehensive care to those who need us.

“COVID has been cruel to so many and we see the NHS Seacole Centre as a place of recovery where those who need more care before they go home can receive this through an integrated, holistic, multi-disciplinary team approach.”

The centre has attracted considerable media interest as the first centre of its kind; some of the media pieces can be watched here and here.