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COVID-19: London’s Nightingale Hospital put on standby as daily cases fall

Hospital will ‘stand ready’ to receive coronavirus patients if cases begin to rise


Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock at the opening of the NHS Nightingale Hospital London Picture: PA

London’s NHS Nightingale Hospital will now be on ‘standby’ for a rise in COVID-19 cases, as the government announced the hospital will stop admitting new patients.

A spokesman for the prime minister said that there would be no new COVID-19 admissions expected at the hospital in east London's ExCel centre in the coming days.

Prepared for potential rise in COVID-19 cases when social distancing is eased

In a message to staff on 4 May, NHS Nightingale chief executive Charles Knight said that the facility will ‘stand ready’ if cases in London begin to climb again.

‘After the last of our first group of patients leaves, the hospital will be placed on standby, ready to resume operations as and when needed in the weeks and potentially months to come,’ he said.

‘We must be ready for the possibility that the number of COVID-19 cases rise again if and when the government eases social distancing rules.’

The hospital, which opened officially on 3 April, has treated COVID-19 patients transferred from other intensive care units across the capital.

Those admitted to the hospital are already on ventilators and will remain at the Nightingale until their ventilation treatment is finished.

London’s Nightingale hospital the first of seven in England

The 4,000-bed facility in London was the first Nightingale hospital to be set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with further hospitals since opening in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Harrogate.

Giving an update on the Nightingale programme in England, the prime minister’s spokesperson said: ‘Manchester has taken some patients already; Birmingham, Harrogate and Bristol are ready to take patients if needed.

The spokesperson said the fact that the Nightingale's facilities had not been used extensively was positive and showed the public was following the government’s advice.


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