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A temporary community hospital has been established in Surrey by NHS England to provide rehabilitation to coronavirus survivors.

The first-of-its-kind in England, the new NHS Seacole Centre will provide a service for those who have had COVID-19, as well as rehabilitating people who have been in hospital for routine treatment.

Named after pioneering, Jamaican-born, Crimean-war nurse Mary Seacole, the new facility will have up to 300 inpatients beds, if they are needed.

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NHS England says the additional pace will mean more capacity in nearby hospitals to care for those who need care for coronavirus, as well as patients who need emergency and urgent treatment.

Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS, said: “As well as providing important care in its own right, this new service – by recalling the pioneering work of Mary Seacole – rightly pays tribute to our BAME nurses and other staff at the forefront of the extraordinary NHS response to this terrible covid19 pandemic.

“It also serves as a timely reminder that it is their contribution over the past seven decades that has been a foundation for the very success and continuation of the NHS itself. I fully expect that this will be just the first of a number of Seacole services that will now begin to be established across the country as the NHS moves through the peak of inpatient coronavirus care and the need for community health and rehabilitative services grows.”

Launched on the 4th May 2020, the NHS Seacole Centre comes as the first Nightingale field hospital in the country at London’s Excel has been put “on standby” with no new admissions expected.

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