A new network of temporary Nightingale hospitals will be built across England to increase capacity in the wake of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant. Pictured, the Nightingale Hospital London (BDP Architects)
The NHS is setting up new Nightingale surge hubs at hospitals across the country as part of preparations for a potential wave of Omicron admissions.
Temporary structures capable of housing around 100 patients will be erected in the grounds of eight hospitals across the country, with work starting as early as this week.
The first units will be built at the Royal Preston Hospital, St James’s Hospital in Leeds, Solihull Hospital, Leicester General Hospital, the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, St George’s Hospital in London, William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, and Southmead Hospital in Bristol.
They will improve NHS resilience if the record number of COVID-19 infections leads to a surge in admissions and outstrips existing capacity.
And placing these facilities in hospital grounds will make it easier to flex staff and equipment if there is a surge in admissions, providing access to diagnostics and emergency care if required.
The move comes as hospitals are using hotels, hospices, and care homes to safely discharge as many people who are medically fit to leave as possible.
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.