Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Headley Court, Surrey 280410 CREDIT Crown Copyright.jpg

Coronavirus: Transformed Headley Court Battles 'New Upsurge' In Aftercare Demand

The former defence rehabilitation facility re-opened as the NHS Seacole Centre in response to COVID-19.

Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Headley Court, Surrey 280410 CREDIT Crown Copyright.jpg

Medical staff at Surrey's NHS Seacole Centre are providing coronavirus survivors with mental and physical therapy.

The long-term treatment offered at the transformed Headley Court site, which was used to treat injured forces personnel until 2018, comes as staff face a "new upsurge" follow-up care demand amongst treated patients.

NHS England Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens said "most" of some 90,000 COVID-19 patients treated in hospital since March will require aftercare.

NHS Seacole is treating heart and lung damage with physiotherapy, while mental health staff help patients with side-effects like post-intensive care syndrome (PICS).

PICS involves persistent emotional, psychological or physical distress following a stay in critical care.

During a visit to the coronavirus rehabilitation centre in Leatherhead, Sir Simon Stevens said the demand for such service is "increasingly clear".

"Just because we’re coming through the peak of coronavirus hospital patients doesn’t mean that we haven’t got this new upsurge in need in other parts of the health service," he said.

Micky Yule and Tom Weatherall say goodbye to Headley Court.
We joined veterans in 2018 as they said goodbye to the defence facility at Headley Court.

The NHS England chief said he believes the joint effort from specialist NHS, council and care services will help many survivors "get back on their feet".

He also expects similar centres to open as the UK eases out of the coronavirus lockdown.

Already equipped with clinical spaces, it took 35 days to transform Headley Court into a coronavirus facility with 300 inpatient beds - named after Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse who cared for injured Crimean War soldiers.

Until 2018, the site hosted a rehabilitation facility helping wounded Armed Forces personnel rebuild their lives since the late 1940s.

After the closure, patients and staff were moved to the £300 million Defence National Rehabilitation Centre in Nottinghamshire.

Cover image: Crown Copyright.