First four star hotel opens for NHS patients 

27/09/2012 00:00 

A stylish 35 bedroom hotel has opened in central London for patients from one of the leading hospitals in the NHS.

Patient Tom Clarke relaxes in the 'Cotton Cove'

Patient Tom Clarke relaxes in the ‘Cotton Cove’

The four star boutique hotel – the first of its kind in the NHS - offers a warm, personalised service normally found in good quality hotels but also provides touches of luxury to help patients retain their independence while undergoing clinical tests and treatments.

Developed by UCLH Charity, it will be an alternative facility for patients at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) who would normally be put up in local hotels.

UCLH was the pioneer of this type of care within the UK allowing cancer patients to stay in a nearby hotel, free of charge, instead of in hospital which is around three times more expensive.

Patient Tom Clarke in his bedroom overlooking the BT Tower

Patient Tom Clarke in his bedroom overlooking the BT Tower

It is known as ‘ambulatory care’ and patients who receive this treatment are monitored every day.  The ambulatory care team may be contacted 24 hours a day and to make this easier, all guest rooms have telephones with direct lines to the hospital switchboard. For emergency situations there is also an additional alarm by the bedside.

The development of the hotel known as the Cotton Rooms was funded by charitable donations. It is a stone’s throw from the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre and patients can be readmitted to a hospital ward at a moment’s notice.

Twenty-six-year-old cancer patient Tom Clarke was among the first to stay, whilst undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

“I like the layout, the colours and there’s a chilled out, cosy atmosphere. Best of all though is the freedom – I can come and go as I please. I live in Maidstone so it’s a bit far to travel each day when I’m having chemotherapy and the hotel is far better than staying in a hospital ward.

“I like the fact that everyone here is in the same boat – having treatment at UCLH – and that it’s a good way of getting to know other patients,” said Tom.

From l to r: Cotton Rooms general manager Eros Trevison; ambulatory care project manager Paula Statham; patient Tom Clarke; UCLH

From l to r: Cotton Rooms general manager Eros Trevison; ambulatory care project manager Paula Statham; patient Tom Clarke; UCLH Charity chief executive Philip Brading and UCLH Charity secretary and treasurer Peter Burroughs

The hotel’s communal living room is tastefully designed with wooden floors, modern soft furnishings, glossy magazines and cut flowers. The dining room is bright and cheerful with a large flat screen TV for the early morning news. The bedrooms have soft, fluffy white towels, modern bathrooms, bathrobes, slippers, free Wi-fi and complimentary toiletries. There is also a laundry room, e-books to borrow and internet access.

Kirit Ardeshna , Consultant Haematologist and Clinical Lead for the Cancer Centre, said: “It is a successful and alternative way of delivering treatments to cancer patients who would historically have been kept in hospital unnecessarily. These patients are undergoing treatments including bone marrow transplants and high dose chemotherapy.

“Patients are overwhelmingly positive about the service as it gives them the freedom to carry on with a ‘normal’ life in an environment where family and children can stay with them.

“All patients must meet strict criteria and if our medical teams consider that a patient needs to be admitted to hospital then a hospital bed is always provided.”


The Cotton Rooms dining area

The Cotton Rooms dining area

The project is funded by UCLH Charity (Registered charity no 229771) which supports patients treated by our hospitals.

Philip Brading, chief executive of UCLH Charity, said:” The hotel will be very welcoming and  while the focus will be firmly on the patient we have replicated a good quality 4* hotel and will also be able to accommodate other health related staff and personnel when the occasions arise. Just recently the hotel accommodated staff on duty in the hospital during the Olympics. We called it The Cotton Rooms for that reason – we want people to feel warm and well looked after.

“The hotel complements the ethos of the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre which opened in April this year. It was the perfect time to forge ahead with the project.”

It may look, feel and smell like a classy establishment but people not profit is the aim. Its’ manager is Eros Trevisan who has worked at several private hotels at home and abroad, including Marco Pierre White’s hotel and restaurant in Camberley. The hotel is managed by Interserve.

Paula Statham, a cancer nurse who helped develop the ambulatory cancer care service, hopes the communal spaces will alleviate the loneliness that some patients feel whilst undergoing treatment.

She said: “It can be an isolating experience for some patients and we hope the hotel will make it easier for them to carry on with their lives as normally as possible – but with the added assurance that medical help is close by. They can – if they wish – socialise and chat with other patients to share their experiences or invite a relative or friend to stay with them in their hotel room.”

The majority of patients who stay at The Cotton Rooms will be cancer patients. However the hotel will  be available for all patients who have undergone treatments at UCLH, who need to be close to a hospital but do not require clinical supervision overnight. Many will have travelled long distances for the very specialised care offered by the Trust’s hospitals, which include the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.


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