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30th Dec 2021

Covid: Nightingale ‘surge hubs’ to be set up as NHS goes on ‘war footing’ against Omicron

Charlie Herbert

Nightingale hospital

The NHS is on a ‘war footing’ to prepare for a wave of Omicron hospital admissions

A number of new Nightingale “surge hubs” are to be set up around England as the NHS anticipates a surge of covid hospital admissions in the new year.

Eight locations will be set up according to NHS England, each with the capacity to treat 100 patients. Work will begin on them this week.

More sites have been identified that could house another 4,000 “super surge” beds.

The hubs will be used to look after those who are not well enough to go home from hospital but need minimal supervision during their covid-19 recovery.

Currently, hospitals are using hotels and care homes to safely discharge patients and free up hospital beds.

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Given the high level of COVID-19 infections and increasing hospital admissions, the NHS is now on a war footing.

“We do not yet know exactly how many of those who catch the virus will need hospital treatment, but given the number of infections we cannot wait to find out before we act and so work is beginning from today to ensure these facilities are in place.

“We hoped never to have to use the original Nightingales and I hope we never to have to use these new hubs.”

The new hubs, named after the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, will be staffed by nurses and consultants, as well as clinical and non-clinical workers.

The locations of the hubs are Royal Preston hospital, St James’ University Hospital in Leeds, Lister Hospital in Stevenage, St George’s Hospital in London, The William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, North Bristol Hospital, Solihull Hospital and University Hospitals Leicester.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We hope the Nightingale surge hubs at hospitals will not have to be used but it is absolutely right that we prepare for all scenarios and increase capacity.”

On Wednesday, 183,037 daily cases were reported across the UK, another record figure, with over 900,000 cases reported over the last seven days – up 41.4 per cent on the week before.

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