When it first opened in April this year, the head of the Nightingale Hospital Bristol said she hoped it would never be needed.
Just two months later, the emergency facility built in UWE’s exhibition and conference centre remains unused and is now being officially moved into “standby mode” following a decision by NHS bosses to relocate staff and resources to other sites.
The temporary hospital has provision for up to 300 intensive care beds for coronavirus patients and was set up to support the region’s existing network during the pandemic.
NHS bosses say they are in “active discussions” as to how best to use the facilities during the standby period, adding that the hospital is still there as and when it is needed to care for critically ill Covid-19 patients.
Speaking about the decision to demote the hospital to standby, Marie-Noelle Orzel, the chief officer for NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol, said: “We have always said that we hope our hospital is never needed. To date, thanks to the hard work of NHS colleagues in the region and large numbers of people following the expert advice and guidance, there has been no need to use our hospital.
“Moving our hospital into a standby mode means that we remain ready and waiting for when we are needed but are able to return staff and resources to other services and hospitals for the time being. This ensures that we are able to best use our resources to support our Severn region critical care network to care for current patients.”
Orzel thanked everyone involved in building and maintaining the hospital.
The hospital at UWE’s Frenchay campus was one of seven Nightingale facilities built across the country and NHS bosses have so far said they are unable to reveal the cost of the pop-up field hospitals.
Read more: Cost of Nightingale Hospital Bristol unknown
Tim Whittlestone, the medical director at NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol, said: “Our mission remains to save lives, provide hope and enhance and support critical care capacity across our Severn region. At present there is sufficient critical care capacity within our region which means that, for the time being, it is appropriate that our hospital will move into a standby mode. As and when we are needed, we will stand up to provide care with compassion to critically ill people with Covid-19.
“We are actively discussing with our NHS colleagues across the region how we can best use our facilities during this standby period to support their clinical and non-clinical work. Our focus is on making the best use of our resources for the benefit of all.”
Main photo courtesy of the NHS