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Covid-19: Nightingale hospitals set to shut down after seeing few patients

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1860 (Published 07 May 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m1860

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  1. Michael Day
  1. London, UK

The mothballing of Britain’s Nightingale hospitals, some of which have yet to treat a single covid-19 patient, has raised questions about whether resources to fight the pandemic were disproportionately focused on building intensive care capacity.

Five emergency hospitals, with the capacity to treat almost 10 000 covid-19 cases, were opened last month at sites across the country1 for fear the NHS might be overwhelmed following scenes of northern Italian intensive care units swamped with seriously ill patients.

But such high demand for intensive care never materialised. Just 51 patients have been treated at the 4000 bed medical facility situated in the refurbished Excel Centre in London’s Docklands since it opened. Nightingale units in Birmingham and Harrogate have not treated a single patient, while a facility in Manchester has had just a handful of admissions.

Charles Knight, the chief executive of Nightingale London, announced on 4 May that no more …

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