COVID-19: New Nightingale ‘surge hubs’ to be established amid growing Omicron wave | UK News

A number of new Nightingale “surge hubs” are to be set up around the UK as the NHS goes on “war footing” in preparation for a wave of Omicron hospitalizations.

Eight sites with capacity for 100 patients will be set up and work will begin this week, NHS England has said.

Several sites have also been identified that could add an additional 4,000 “super surge” beds, which include facilities such as gyms and training centers.

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It comes as hospitals use hotels and nursing homes to safely discharge as many patients as possible in an effort to free up space for people with COVID.

NHS National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Given the high level of COVID-19 infections and rising hospitalizations, the NHS is now at war.

“We do not yet know exactly how many of those who get the virus will need hospital treatment, but given the number of infections, we can not wait to find out before we act, and therefore the work begins in day to ensure that these facilities are in place.

“We never hoped to use the original Nightingales, and I hope we never have to use those new hubs.”

The new hubs, named after Florence Nightingale, will be staffed by nurses and consultants as well as clinical and non-clinical workers and care for those who are not healthy enough to take home but need minimal supervision during their COVID-19 recovery .

NHS England Nightingale hub locations

Royal Preston hospital

St James’ University Hospital in Leeds

Lister Hospital in Stevenage

St George’s Hospital in London

William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent

North Bristol Hospital

Solihull Hospital

Leicester University Hospitals

Health Minister Sajid Javid said: “We hope that the Nightingale Surge Centers in hospitals will not be used, but it is quite right that we prepare for all scenarios and increase capacity.”

As part of an agreement with Hospice UK, up to 4,800 people a day who may need monitoring but do not need to be in hospital could receive support from a hospice bed or from home visitors.

The NHS also makes use of virtual wards where patients receive surveillance technology and regular check-in with medical staff.

GPs also have access to nearly 250,000 devices that can read blood oxygen levels by scanning fingertips so COVID patients can monitor their own levels at home instead of using a hospital bed.

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Chris Hopson, CEO of NHS Providers – the member organization for NHS trusts in the UK, said: “Based on past experience in the pandemic, trusts identify additional capacity at existing hospital sites that could be converted to super wave capacity if required.

“Trust leaders hope this backup insurance will never be necessary, as with the original Nightingales. But it must be the right ‘no regrets later’ move to make these preparations now.

“Given the rest of the pressure on the NHS and the current level of staff absenteeism, it would be a major challenge to staff this capacity. But co-location on existing hospital sites maximizes the NHS’s ability to meet this challenge.

“We also need to recognize that this will add further stretch to an already hard-pressed NHS.”

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