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Coronavirus: British Legion offers NHS use of Portrush facility as hotel opens doors to health staff

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bennet house in portrush

bennet house in portrush

bennet house in portrush

The Royal British Legion's holiday centre in a Co Antrim seaside town has been offered to the NHS to use as it wishes during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Bennet House on the north Antrim coast in Portrush is one of the British Legion's four respite facilities for veterans in the UK.

However, the organisation took the decision close them all down at the end of last year.

The NHS has yet to decide if Bennet House, and the other three facilities, can be of use as either somewhere staff can go to self-isolate or to stay in order to protect their own families.

A Royal British Legion spokeswoman said: "The NHS has acknowledged and thanked the RBL for the offer and will contact us as the pandemic unfolds.

"The NHS Covid-19 Incident Commander and Management Group will decide if the centres can be of use to the NHS, when and how.

"Until the NHS make that decision, we will not make alternative arrangements, ensuring the NHS have the first refusal."

Meanwhile, a Premier Inn in the Waterside area of Londonderry is already being used by staff working in Altnagelvin Hospital.

Doctors, nurses and other frontline medical staff at Altnagelvin are now staying at the hotel which is less than a mile away.

Some who are in direct contact with coronavirus patients or those suspected of having Covid-19 are there because they have moved out of their homes to protect families while others are self-isolating.

Reacting to the news yesterday, Gary Middleton, a DUP MLA for Foyle, commended the owners of the facilities for providing such an important public service.

He said: "It is fantastic that hotels are being used in these ways because they are providing either a safe place for medical staff to go and be safe and keep their families safe as well or free up hospital beds by patients who are on the road to recovery.

"The owners of these hotels need to be commended for providing this important service.

"I have no doubt when this current crisis is behind us and we get back to a time when we can get out and support our local hotels and businesses people will remember these very generous acts."

Belfast Telegraph