Nightingale hospitals are still lying empty despite the rising coronavirus cases and fears over a new highly-infectious mutant strain.
East London’s ExCeL centre – the first site opened by NHS England amid the crisis, is seen practically deserted in pictures taken today. The site would be the largest intensive care unit in Europe if fully operational, capable of providing up to 500 intensive care beds, reports have claimed.
The venue is just one of England’s nightingale hospitals lying in wait to be fully utilised, along with a site in Manchester, open for ‘non-Covid’ care, and sites in Exeter and Harrogate open for ‘specialist diagnostics’.
It has been suggested the hospitals are largely deserted, despite Boris Johnson‘s dramatic decision to plunge a third of those in England under tough Tier 4 measures from Sunday.
In the first wave of the pandemic, seven Nightingale hospitals were built at a cost of £220million, but the NHS was largely able to cope so only two were used, with around 200 people treated. There has been speculation that the Nightingales could be used as centres to provide vaccinations.