Specialist rehab beds could leave Coventry’s University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) and move to Leamington Spa.

A business case is being drawn up regarding the potential relocation of a dozen neuro-rehabilitation Level 2b beds from UHCW to South Warwickshire Foundation Trust’s (SWFT) Central England Rehabilitation Unit at the Royal Leamington Spa Hospital.

The beds are the only Level 2b neuro-rehabilitation facilities in Coventry or Warwickshire and support patients recovering from a nervous system injury, usually staying for one-three months although stays can extend to up to six months.

Beds had been based at UHCW prior to a move to Leamington in March as part of an ‘urgent’ Covid response designed to free up space at Coventry’s hospital in preparation for coronavirus patients.

Both SWFT and UHCW believe keeping the beds within Leamington’s specialist rehab unit permanently will improve patient outcomes, reduce length of stay, and reduce exposure to infectious Covid-19 patients, a report to Coventry City Council said on Wednesday.

Royal Leamington Spa Rehabilitation Hospital

Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group, which is leading on the idea on behalf of the three Coventry and Warwickshire CCGs, received the backing from the council’s Health and Social Care Scrutiny Board to develop a full business on future of the beds.

A spokesman for the three CCGs said: “When the coronavirus pandemic started, the NHS needed to make immediate changes to how we deliver services, to increase capacity in our hospitals and continue to care for our current patients.

“By moving our Level 2B neuro-rehabilitation beds from UHCW to the Central England Rehabilitation Unit at Royal Leamington Spa Hospital we were able to create more inpatient capacity at UHCW for Covid-19 patients, and ensure that our rehabilitation patients continued to receive high-quality neuro-rehabilitation in an appropriate, infection controlled environment.

“We are now restoring services and want to explore if this change is something which should be made permanent. Before making any decisions, we will be working with patients, staff, the wider public and stakeholders to understand their views.”

The CCG will now seek the support of Warwickshire Country Council next week before starting work on the business case, which would include public consultation. No decisions have yet to be made on the future of the beds.

Since 19 March 2020 to 31 August 2020, 31 patients have been admitted to the beds. The beds are used to treat conditions such as traumatic brain injury, complex neurological conditions, and acute neuro-behavioural conditions.

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