Hospital beds at Excel NHS Nightingale
UK

London's NHS Nightingale Hospital To Be Put On 'Standby'

The hospital, which was constructed with the help of military personnel, has stopped admitting new patients but will remain on standby.

Hospital beds at Excel NHS Nightingale

London's NHS Nightingale hospital is to stop admitting new patients, following limited demand for its services.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said there were no new coronavirus admissions expected at the hospital in east London’s ExCel centre in the coming days.

The temporary hospital will remain on "standby" should it need to resume operations in the future.

"It’s not likely that in the coming days we will need to be admitting patients to the London Nightingale while coronavirus in the capital remains under control," No 10 said.

"That’s obviously a very positive thing and we remain grateful to everybody in London for following the Government’s advice in helping to protect the NHS.

"What the Nightingale will be is effectively placed on standby so it would be ready to receive patients should that be required, but we are not anticipating that will be the case."

It follows reports that the field hospital had only 19 patients on Friday, down from a peak of around 35 earlier in April.

The first patients were admitted to the 4,000-bed capacity hospital on 7 April.

The aim was to alleviate the pressure on hospitals in the capital as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

WATCH: Inside the NHS Nightingale hospital at London's ExCel centre before it opened.

In a message to staff on Monday, the pop-up hospital’s chief executive, Professor Charles Knight, said that the facility will "stand ready" if cases in the capital began to climb again.

"It is likely that in the coming days we will not need to be admitting patients to the London Nightingale, while coronavirus in the capital remains under control," Prof Knight said.

"As a result, after the last of this 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.

"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.

"That is why the London Nightingale will stand ready should it again be needed."

A combination of NHS staff, contractors and up to 200 military personnel took part in the hospital’s construction, which was completed in just nine days.

The hospital officially opened on 3 April and has been used to treat COVID-19 patients who have been transferred from other intensive care units (ICU) across London.

Those admitted to the hospital are already on a ventilator and will remain at the Nightingale until their course of ventilation is finished.

Coronavirus patients suffering from other serious conditions, such as cardiac issues, are cared for at other specialist centres.

The facility in London was the first Nightingale hospital to be built.

Further hospitals opened in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Harrogate.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said the fact that the Nightingales have not been "used in a significant way" was "something that is positive and we are grateful to the public for its role in that".

They were "absolutely not" a waste of money, he added.

Cover image: A picture of the hospital beds at NHS Nightingale London in April.

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