UK: Best Western Great Britain is to consider turning its hotels into hospitals if demand for bed space during the coronavirus outbreak puts the NHS under pressure.
The group, which has seen a “significant increase” in cancellations for February to the first week of March, has around 260 hotels in the UK with almost 15,000 bedrooms.
Chief executive, Rob Paterson, said: “We are in unprecedented territory so we would be willing to take unprecedented steps to support the national effort.”
“If the NHS wants additional bed space, and we can partner with other companies to provide the right medical equipment and supplies and we can do it safely, then we would be willing to start having those conversations immediately. Whatever we can do to help.”
The independent hotel group will discuss the move with members this week.
It follows news of Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggesting that hotels could be converted into makeshift hospitals.
“The critical thing is that [the hotels] need oxygen supply and the ventilation equipment – whether it’s the invasive ventilation or just the mask on your face. So what matters is not just the space, it’s making sure that the equipment and the trained staff are there as well,” Hancock said.