Published date: 09 June 2020

Providing additional capacity for COVID-19 patients and staff accommodation


  • Site: Community Hospital with vacant nursing home block.
  • Customers/stakeholders: North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Anglia Community Enterprise (ACE)
  • NHS Property Services (NHSPS) representatives: Paul Cross, Regional Partnership Director (East); Mark Owens, Facilities Services Manager; Jamie Hume and Clem Lam, Property Management.

The challenge

As the scale of COVID-19’s impact on the NHS became more apparent, our teams took a proactive approach to identify vacant space across our estate that could be recommissioned. 

We shared various options with the CCG and established Clacton as a strong option to provide more bed space for patient care. As the site also had a vacant nursing home block with one-bed residential units, it could also provide staff accommodation – but as it has stood vacant for ~10 years it would require significant work to bring back ‘online’. 

We then had to move quickly to recommission and reconfigure the space. 

The solution

Durban Ward was identified as the preferred option for patient beds, which meant we needed to move existing occupiers to other parts of the building, as well as reconfigure the space and run deep cleans in preparation for handover. We also had to prepare the staff accommodation, including turning the power and water back on. 

This project was delivered through a huge collaborative effort, working across NHSPS, with our customers, and a supply chain of local contractors who stepped in as major contractors struggled with resourcing. The community spirit and effort was central to this success – with even a local pizza delivery service working long hours to make sure the team were fed and watered!

The impact

In the space of two weeks from ‘go’, we recommissioned and prepared space to provide 50 additional palliative care beds (some for Covid-19) and 15 one-bed residential units for staff

This gives the local health economy some much needed additional capacity for patient care as we battle Covid-19 and support the recovery phase and has given staff the option to keep their loved ones safe by not increasing the risk of infection in their own homes. 

Customer feedback

"A big thank you to you and your team who did some brilliant work to get our Durban ward up and running.  It was an exceptional piece of joined up working and I’m keen that we share the good news."

Frank Simms, Chief Executive, Anglia Community Enterprise

We recommissioned and reconfigured space across our estate during Covid-19 to provide additional capacity for treatment and testing, delivering space for over 1,000 beds. See our infographic for more information.