NHS moves to wind up London’s Nightingale Hospital
The BBC reports that the 4,000 bed field hospital, opened on 3 April to provide extra capacity for the capital’s health service, is currently treating just 20 patients. Once they’ve been discharged, staff and some equipment will be redistributed to other hospitals.
But in the three weeks since it was opened doubt about the project has started to creep in. The hospital designed to take 500, with capacity for 4,000, has only treated 41 patients. At a cost of many millions a week there are rumblings the Nightingale is turning into an expensive white elephant.
"We are worried a negative view of the Hospital is being allowed to develop," one senior member of the medical team at the hospital tells me."And having so few patients, when we expected to be dealing with hundreds, has not been good for our morale," they added.
Sir Simon Stevens, Head of NHS England, said: "We have not yet had to make extensive use of the Nightingale London thanks to the hard work of NHS staff – who have freed up more than 30,000 existing hospital beds .... It will count as a huge success for the whole country if we never need to use them, but with further waves of coronavirus possible it is important that we have these extra facilities in place and treating patients."