THE NHS in Dorset has called on a specialist elderly care provider for help as hospital beds fill with Covid patients.

Encore Care Homes has partnered with the NHS to temporarily take extra non-Covid residents at short notice as pressure increases on hospital staff.

The firm is now looking for more than 500 people with adult social care experience to join the newly-formed, not-for-profit care agency, Care Club.

A range of roles are available including registered nurses, care practitioners, senior healthcare assistants and healthcare assistants based in Bournemouth, Poole, and Christchurch.

Care Club members will ensure the delivery of personalised continuity of care to the residents.

They will be provided with an induction and full training, a ‘buddy’ to work alongside as they get to know the role, and ongoing training support.

Benefits for Care Club members include high rates of pay, a cash bonus for every full shift worked, and the flexibility of choosing the care home they wish to work at, as well as their hours.

Members will also be included in the rollout of vaccines across Encore homes, which includes Fairmile Grange in Christchurch, Oakdale in Poole and Great Oaks in Bournemouth.

Mark Mould, chief operating officer of University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have seen a sharp rise in the number of patients with Covid since Christmas.

"This means we need to free up capacity across our hospitals in order to accommodate these patients.

"As with all hospitals across the country, we have patients in our care who are medically ready to leave, but can’t as the community is working close to the maximum of established capacity so there is nowhere for these patients to go to.

"Working closely with Encore has been fantastic as they have been able to increase the external capacity we can access and take some of these patients offering specialist care.”

Strict Covid-19 protocols are in place at Encore with all incoming residents being tested for Covid-19 before they arrive at the care home. The new resident also undergoes a period of self-isolation, with the team’s support. All care home residents are tested for Covid-19 on a weekly basis, with staff accessing twice-weekly Lateral Flow rapid testing which provides results in 30 minutes.

Tony Spotswood, chairman of Encore Care Homes, previously served as CEO of The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust.

He said: “Our care teams are steadfast in their desire to help to relieve the pressure on the NHS locally during this unprecedented time."

Applications are now open for all roles across Dorset at Encore Care Homes.