NHS Nightingale Hospital moves into standby having never been used

The formal opening of NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The formal opening of NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A hospital set up to treat coronavirus patients has formally moved into standby so it is ready to provide any extra support needed.

NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol provides additional dedicated coronavirus intensive care beds for the Severn critical care network, acting as an insurance policy for the existing hospital network – providing support to hospitals from Gloucester to Yeovil and Taunton to Swindon.

Marie-Noelle Orzel, the hosptial’s chief officer, 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.

“In the meantime, we would like to share our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to everyone who has worked with us to create and maintain our hospital.”

The NHS previously said it was unable to reveal the cost of the emergency field hospital, which was built at the UWE Frenchay campus in April to provide up to 300 intensive care beds for coronavirus patients.

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However, it was not even used when Weston General Hospital closed to new patients after a spike in Covid-19 cases in May.

Tim Whittlestone, medical director at the hospital, added: “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.”