Lilycross Care Home Rushed Back into use as a Step-down Facility

Eric Wright Health and Care and construction partner, Eric Wright Special Projects, are involved in bringing a former care home in Widnes back into use to help ease the pressure on hospitals treating patients with COVID-19.

Lilycross Care Home closed in 2015 after a damning inspection report but Halton Council is now urgently refurbishing the 60-bed facility as part of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The care home is expected to open in mid-May and will operate as a ‘step-down facility’ for patients recovering from major illnesses, including COVID-19.

Halton Council expects Lilycross to provide ‘a crucial extra resource’ for the new Nightingale Hospital currently under construction in central Manchester.

Cllr Tom McInerney, the council’s executive board member for social care, said: “Having this facility is essential to support the community in Halton and more widely. It means we will be able to free up hospital beds for those people who need them the most.

“We are working at speed alongside Catalyst Choices, Eric Wright Health & Care, Eric Wright Special Projects and Capacity, to get this facility up and running.

“However, I must remind the public that the best way for them to support our hospitals and our community is by following the Government’s advice and staying at home.”

Plans were already in motion to reopen the building in Wilmere Lane as a care home after earlier plans to turn it into a hostel for asylum seekers fell through.

In February this year, the Lilycross Action Group said “new proprietors” were “adding the finishing touches” to the facility prior to seeking approval from the Care Quality Commission.

But it appears that there was still considerable work to be done.

Earlier this month, the council awarded a contract to refurbish Lilycross without going through the normal procurement process due to the “extreme urgency” of responding to the coronavirus crisis.

Refurbishment is expected to be finished by the beginning of May, with the first patients arriving at Lilycross just weeks later.

The care home will be operated by Catalyst Choices, which runs the Woodleigh Care Home in Warrington.

The company’s managing director, David Osborne, said: “We are delighted that as a local community-based organisation we can play a meaningful part in responding to the national crisis and support Halton Borough Council in this much needed new resource.”

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