Patients are being turned away from the new 4,000-bed NHS Nightingale Hospital in London due to a shortage of nurses, it was said today.
The ExCeL Center Field Hospital has not been able to accept about 50 coronavirus patients requiring “life or death” care since it opened on April 7.
Thirty of them were transfers from existing London hospitals that could not go ahead due to nursing shortages, reports The Guardian.
So far, the Docklands site has only had 41 patients, four of whom have died, seven have been demoted to less critical care and 30 are still being treated.
With thousands of empty beds, London hospital managers are increasingly concerned that the Nightingale will become a “white elephant” and take away vital resources from other nearby sites.
Dozens of patients have been turned away from the NHS Nightingale Hospital in east London (photo) due to a shortage of intensive care nurses, it was said today.
A hospital bed and a respirator are pictured inside the ExCeL center in London, where so far 41 patients have been treated for the deadly virus
NHS documents seen by The Guardian say it has been difficult to recruit nurses who are normally based in other hospitals.
How many nightingale hospitals are being built and which are open?
The NHS England has announced seven temporary hospitals to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Hospitals are in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Harrogate, Exeter and Tyne and Wear.
The London hospital was opened by Prince Charles via video link almost two weeks ago and has started receiving patients.
The Manchester facility, located in the main central hall of the former Manchester Central station, is equipped to accommodate 750 coronavirus patients and opened today. He currently has no patients.
The Birmingham Hospital, housed in the National Exhibition Center (NEC), is now available to receive patients and has a capacity of 500 beds, which can be increased to 1,500 if necessary. It has not yet been confirmed if he has patients.
The Exeter and Tyne and Wear sites are expected to both open in late April or early May and will add up to 700 beds.
There will also be one at the University of the West of England in Bristol – capable of caring for up to 1,000 patients – while that at the Harrogate Convention Center will be able to care for up to at 500.
They are both currently under construction.
A staff member said, “There are a lot of people who work here, including many doctors. But there are not enough intensive care nurses. They already work in and are in tatters in other hospitals.
“There are no spare people [specialist nurses] to do it. This is the problem.’
Boris Johnson paid special tribute to the two critical care nurses who stayed at his bedside while he was in the Guys and St Thomas intensive care units to fight the virus. He claimed that he would not have survived without them.
Another 20 COVID-19 patients were also rejected by the Nightingale because they were “too sick,” the documents reveal.
Nightingale’s sites nationwide have been designed to relieve the pressure on existing hospitals by treating those in need of intensive care.
A huge amount of public resources has been invested in the pioneer site of London, with 200 soldiers helping to transform the exhibition grounds in just nine days.
If it were to reach its full capacity, it would take more than 16,000 employees to operate it.
But Boris Johnson and his team have repeatedly stressed that the Nightingales are just emergency facilities, and that if they remain empty as they are now, are a sign that NHS strategic planning is working.
England’s medical director of health, Professor Chris Whitty, also said that if hospitals like the London Nightingale were to end up with more intensive care beds than necessary, it “would be successful.”
A sea of unused beds is pictured inside the Field Hospital in London’s Docklands
Earlier this month, NHS England CEO Sir Simon Stevens said that Nightingale London had not been used because 30,000 beds had been released at other nearby hospitals.
He said in a statement: “We have not yet had to make heavy use of Nightingale London thanks to the hard work of NHS staff – who have released more than 30,000 existing hospital beds – and the public, who played its part in staying at home and saving lives.
“It will be considered a huge success for the whole country if we never need to use them, but with possible new waves of coronaviruses, it is important that we have these additional facilities in place and the treatment of patients.” “
The ExCeL site is photographed on March 27 during construction. Nightingale Hospital was built in just nine days
ExCel London worker converting to NHS Nightingale temporary hospital
But a senior intensive care doctor told The Guardian, “The nightingale is clearly not a hospital. It is an emergency overflow facility to ventilate patients to prevent them from dying when hospitals are short of space.
A London NHS spokesperson told MailOnline: “The most important point about the staff at Nightingale is that thanks to their care and expertise, the patients in this hospital are treated, released and ultimately saved. their life.
“There is unused capacity in the capital’s intensive care network to care for all of the coronavirus patients and others who need our care, and while it is incredibly reassuring for staff and patients to have an emergency capacity at Nightingale to ease the pressure on the intensive care services if necessary, patients can be transferred to other hospitals in the city if they are better placed to receive them at this time there – as it always is.
The exterior front of the new NHS Nightingale in London is pictured before it opens on April 7 with staff observing social distancing measures outside
Armed forces have been recruited to transform the London Docklands Exhibition Center (photo above) into a temporary hospital