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Heroic failure: Why did the NHS keep building NINE Covid-19 emergency hospitals even when it was clear there was no need for them?

24 185 312
06.05.2020

It was announced on Monday that the Nightingale Hospital in London is to stop admitting new patients, probably from next week. In truth, patients have been thin on the ground from the start. Despite the claims of NHS bosses and politicians, the whole exercise has been an heroic failure – and a misguided waste of money.

The hospital was announced with great fanfare by the secretary of state for health, Matt Hancock, on March 24. The field hospital, housed at the ExCeL London exhibition centre, was planned to have 500 beds, with the capacity for 4,000-5,000 beds across its two wards if necessary. Working with the British Armed Forces and architects BDP, the hospital was formally opened on April 3 and accepted its first patients on April 7. Everyone seemed to agree it was an astonishing logistical feat.

However, it soon became apparent that the hospital wasn't really needed. Before the UK epidemic took off, London had around 770 intensive care beds across all its hospitals. This increased by the Easter weekend to 1,555, with around 80 percent of them occupied. Wards in other hospitals had been cleared of other patients, so there was plenty of capacity for those suffering from Covid-19.

While there were plenty of beds and ventilators at the Nightingale, there never seemed to be enough staff. Other hospitals seemed unwilling to release experienced staff, especially as they were coping with the demand. The Nightingale was incapable of taking the most frail patients – it could only take the relatively young and fit.

Moreover, transferring patients to the hospital required ambulance staff experienced in transferring critically ill patients – and they........

© RT.com


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