(Image: PA) Around fifty attendees, including those from the military, health professionals and those who helped construct the facility, at the official opening of the NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham
By Joseph Wilkes
The NHS Nightingale hospital in Birmingham has been placed on “higher alert” to reopen in the next 48-72 hours, it is reported.
Dr David Rosser of University Hospitals Birmingham told the BBC the temporary hospital at the NEC arena has been placed back onto “higher alert” footing, meaning it can be reopened in two to three days if needed. In May, Mirror Online reported how it was understood that no patients had actually been treated at the four Nightingale hospitals outside London, including Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Harrogate.
The NHS Nightingale hospital in London, was placed on “standby” after treating just a few dozen patients since it was opened – but did confirm the first patient to die at the temporary site that month.
Boris Johnson ’s official spokesman confirmed reports that NHS Nightingale in London would be mothballed. He added it has been “effectively placed on standby so it would be ready to receive patients should that be required. We are not anticipating that will be the case.”
Today’s news comes as parts of the Midlands have been put back into lockdown after health officials described the steep rise in coronavirus cases as “off the scale”. On Friday, Wolverhampton joined West Midlands neighbours Birmingham and Sandwell on the local lockdown list after cases increased by “five-fold” in a fortnight. Oadby and Wigston in Leicestershire have also gone back into lockdown – with the county council’s director of public health saying the rise “underlines that residents need to change their behaviour”.
Wolverhampton City Council said there were around 60 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days to September 12 compared to 12.6 cases per 100,000 in the week to August 29.
The council said some 90% of cases are linked to household-to-household transmission. Rates in Oadby and Wigston increased up to 145 per 100,000 people, over three times the national and Leicestershire averages, placing it second in the country. Leicestershire County Council said more than half of the cases in the last week are clusters in households.
The Government also added the nearby district of Blaby to its watch-list as an “area of enhanced support” after cases rose to 65 per 100,000 people. In May, NHS England’s national medical director Professor Stephen Powis defended the construction of the Nightingale hospitals because they added much-need hospital bed capacity. Asked if NHS Nightingale hospitals were built in error, Prof Powis said: “Absolutely 100% not.”
“If you wind the clock back a month or two, we were looking at an increase in the number of cases, infections, in the UK. “We were watching images from around the world of health systems that were overwhelmed and we had not put in place, were about to put in place, a series of social distancing measures not absolutely knowing how the public would respond to that.
“It would have been foolish to have not planned for extra capacity within the NHS. We did that in a number of ways including the Nightingales.” Commenting on the new restrictions in the region, Leicestershire County Council’s director of public health Mike Sandys said: “This steep rise is off the scale – and underlines that residents need to change their behaviour.
“We know that the virus is spreading in communities so it makes sense for the Government to restrict mixing between households. This will be tough. “But with no one source of infection, it really is down to us to stop the increase. Whether you’re on the school run, travelling to work, in the office or going out for a drink, follow the guidance.
“The route out of this is changing our behaviour.”
Source: Daily Mirror