HOTEL bosses say they are ready to step in and accept Covid-free patients who cannot be discharged from hospital in a bid to free-up beds for patients battling the virus.

They have also revealed early plans to use their function rooms as vaccination centres as the UK-made jab roll out is scaled up from this week.

It comes as Dan Nelson, councillor for Southchurch Ward, has called on Southend Council to do more to support those patients who are at risk of catching Covid simply by being in hospital.

The Conservative said it is essential to help clear Southend Hospital of non-emergency patients in a bit to avoid it becoming overwhelmed.

At the moment, the trust which runs the hospital is caring for more than double the number Covid patients than the spring peak.

Mr Nelson said: “There are lots of patients in Southend Hospital wards where Covid is present that do not need to be there and are waiting to be discharged.

“These people should not be waiting in wards for care packages.

“We could rent hotels that are closed or have a temporary structures or even use the council offices.

“We’ve got to get these people out of hospital as soon as possible and while the council doesn’t have control of the hospitals, it does have a responsibility in helping get these people in a safer place.”

“At this time all efforts should be focused and used to get these people out of hospital and risk as quick as possible.”

Jacqui Dallimore, managing director of the Roslin Beach Hotel, in Thorpe Bay, said she’d be pleased to help.

She said: “I have not been contacted as of yet by anyone from the council or NHS but we would be delighted to help the NHS and receive Covid free patients. If this will help free up beds which I know are desperately needed then it should be rolled out as soon as possible.

“We have also had a meeting with some doctors and offered our function rooms as a Covid vaccination centre to enable as many people to be vaccinated in the shortest possible time.”

Garry Lowen, owner of Gleneagles Hotel, in Southend, said: “We offered this to the council in the first wave but they didn’t take us up on it.

“I think it’s a good idea and will help out the hospitality industry too and save building temporary buildings.”

Southend Council leader Ian Gilbert said: “You’ve got to ask under what circumstances it would be appropriate to discharge someone to a hotel and if they can go to a hotel they can go home. All options are being explored but the opposition is talking rubbish and should stop playing party politics.”