Northern Health and the Royal Melbourne Hospital are working to manage pressure on the hospital system.

NORTHERN Health is working with the Royal Melbourne Hospital to set up two medi-hotels, helping to care for a growing number of COVID-19 patients needing lower-level care.

Two quarantine hotels, the Mantra in Epping and the Pullman in Melbourne’s CBD will be transformed into medi-hotels from January 17.

The medi-hotels will provide ‘Hospital in the Home’ care for low-acuity patients in a controlled environment with all the amenities of existing health hotels.

They will have a capacity to provide care for more than 300 patients at a time, and will alleviate pressure on hospital networks by freeing up beds for patients with higher-care needs, while also making use of existing space in the hotel quarantine network.

Director of Hospital without Walls program at Northern Health, professor Don Campbell, said the medi-hotels would help hospitals deal with increasing COVID-19 patients.

“We’ve had unprecedented pressure on hospitals and the government asked [Northern Health] and the Royal Melbourne Hospital to help by setting up these medi-hotels,” he said.

“We’re currently taking patients who have or have had COVID and need low-level care, we’ll be able to give them the sort of help they would have received through Hospital in the Home but now in a safe and controlled environment.”

Patients eligible for transfer will be those well enough to be relocated from a general hospital ward for the final stages of their clinical care. The triaging process will be managed by authorised health professionals from the coordinating hospital.

Transitional care and support will be provided to people in the medi-hotel, with clinical teams available to respond to any medical emergencies.

Medi-hotel patients will remain under the care of the coordinating hospital and will still be considered an inpatient of that facility.

Acting Minister for Health James Merlino said the medi-hotels would provide health authorities with an extra buffer at a difficult time.

“Patients will receive high-quality care from health professionals in a hotel setting, making even better use of the resources we have available,” he said.

“The COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, CQV, workforce stand ready and able to assist their fellow frontline workers in the ongoing efforts against COVID-19, helping keep Victorians safe.”

CQV will retain operational management of the hotels and Victoria Police will continue its on-site security function.

Hotel quarantine for unvaccinated returned overseas travellers and emergency accommodation for community members and frontline workers will continue at separate hotels that are not being used as medi-hotels.