Nightingale hospitals being ‘readied’ for use as COVID patient numbers rise
Written by on 31 December 2020
Nightingale hospitals across England are being “readied” for use if needed as COVID-19 patient numbers rise.
The NHS in London has been asked to make sure the Excel centre site is “reactivated and ready to admit patients” as hospitals in the capital struggle.
Other Nightingale hospital sites across England include Manchester, Bristol, Sunderland, Harrogate, Exeter and Birmingham.
A spokesman for the NHS said that while staff were going “the extra mile,” hospitals in London were coming under significant pressure from high COVID-19 infection rates.
He added: “The NHS in London is opening more beds in NHS hospitals across the capital to care for the most unwell patients. It is crucial that people do everything they can to reduce transmission of the virus.
“In anticipation of pressures rising from the spread of the new variant infection, NHS London was asked to ensure the London Nightingale was reactivated and ready to admit patients as needed, and that process is under way.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the military was standing by to staff Nightingale hospitals if the NHS exceeded its capacity of critical care beds.
Speaking to Times Radio, Mr Wallace said: “Of course we stand ready to help with Nightingales if the critical pressures go beyond the capacity of the existing NHS.
“We are on, I think, 17,000 ventilator beds currently being used, of a capacity of 21,000.
“If it starts to tip over there, then of course you’ll see those Nightingales being more active and, yes, we have a number of medical staff.”
He said the Army currently had 5,000 personnel deployed in the COVID-19 response.
Trusts across the country all continue to face pressure, with COVID patient numbers in England having surpassed the April first-wave peak.
And people have been urged to ring in the New Year by staying at home and not mixing. NHS England’s national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, warned: “COVID loves a crowd.”