The showpiece Nightingale hospital in London will shut subsequent week after treating a small variety of sufferers however shall be saved “in hibernation” in case a second wave of Covid-19 infections emerges.
No additional sufferers shall be admitted to the ability, which was created amid a lot acclaim in simply 10 days, and the 12 sufferers being handled there in the intervening time are being transferred to different London hospitals.
The Nightingale, constructed within the ExCel convention centre within the Docklands space of London, has proved surplus to necessities within the battle in opposition to coronavirus as a result of established hospitals within the capital coped significantly better with the inflow of critically sick sufferers after vastly increasing their intensive care models.
It is going to shut on 15 Might. Docs, nurses and different workers working there have been advised the information on Monday morning. They are going to return to their common hospitals throughout this week and subsequent.
Initially deliberate to have 4,000 beds, the Nightingale has handled simply 54 sufferers because it was opened by Prince Charles on three April and obtained its first affected person on 7 April. It has not admitted a brand new affected person for every week as London hospitals have had spare capability in their very own intensive care models.
The 4 different Nightingales that had been opened to cease hospitals being overwhelmed – in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Harrogate – can even be wound down, although the London hospital will shut first. All had been conceived in March, when ministers and well being service bosses had been involved that NHS hospitals risked being overwhelmed by the numerous numbers of individuals needing to be ventilated to maintain them alive that Italy was confronting on the time.
However whereas the Manchester hospital has taken some sufferers, its sister amenities in Birmingham, Bristol and Harrogate haven’t admitted anybody.
The London Nightingale specifically has proved controversial. Its supporters say that it and the 4 others had been constructed as “an insurance coverage coverage” in opposition to the pandemic leaving hospitals unable to offer life or demise care to folks strugging to breathe due to the illness. However critics declare the hospital was poorly deliberate and amounted to a PR stunt. Different London hospitals had been envious of the workers, package and precedence given to a facility whose objective they felt was unclear.
One member of workers advised the Guardian: “It was a valiant try however got here too late so ended up being a white elephant. It was not a helpful coverage because it turned away extra sufferers than it handled. It looks as if it was extra a PR train, a little bit of wartime propaganda.”
Greater than 200 workers had been on obligation on the London Nightingale on Monday, regardless of it solely having 12 sufferers.
n a letter to workers, London Nightingale’s chief government, Charles Knight, wrote: “Because the prime minister has mentioned, we are actually previous the primary peak in coronavirus instances and the NHS is due to this fact transferring into the second part of its response to this world pandemic. It’s probably that within the coming days we is not going to should be admitting sufferers to the London Nightingale, whereas coronavirus within the capital stays underneath management.
“Consequently, after the final of this our first group of sufferers leaves, the hospital shall be positioned on standby, able to resume operations as and when wanted within the weeks and probably months to come back.
“This doesn’t imply our position in London’s response to the virus is over. We have to be prepared for the likelihood that the variety of Covid-19 instances rise once more if and when the federal government eases social distancing guidelines.”
The prime minister’s spokesman confirmed that the London Nightingale “can be able to obtain sufferers ought to that be required [in the future] however we aren’t anticipating that to be the case”.
Two different deliberate Nightingales – in Sunderland and Exeter – are nonetheless “attributable to open shortly,” he mentioned.