NEW Forest hotels are on standby to help with patients during the coronavirus crisis.
The manager of the Balmer Lawn Hotel at Brockenhurst, Michael Clitheroe, confirmed to the A&T they had received an approach some weeks ago from NHS officials and he said they would be prepared to help out if that was possible.
Mr Clitheroe said it had been suggested New Forest hotels could accommodate people who were recovering from ailments not linked to the coronavirus to free up hospital beds.
However, since that initial approach, the NHS had not contacted him again, he explained.
“From what I understand hoteliers from across the local area were approached and I know that most would be willing to play a part,” he said.
“However, we don’t have any one staying here and as far as I know no other hotels do.”
NHS officials were more circumspect when asked about the possibility of hotels or local centres being used to help out.
A spokesman refused to be drawn on the matter – although he did admit some behind-the-scenes talks were happening.
“The NHS in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is working with its partners to ensure we are as prepared as possible for any increase in demand for services, as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
“These discussions are ongoing, and we will keep local residents updated as plans are finalised.”
There has also been rumours that the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) could be used as a makeshift hospital.
The A&T approached the BIC for comment but did not receive a reply.