Covid: Harrogate Nightingale hospital to close next month

The Nightingale hospital at Harrogate Convention Centre is to close next month without treating a single Covid-19 patient.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 8:49 am
The Nightingale hospital at Harrogate Convention Centre will be permanently closed in April - a year after it was set up.

Health bosses said the coronavirus hospital will permanently close on 1 April along with other sites in Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester, while those in London and Sunderland will continue as vaccine centres.

The 500-bed hospital in Harrogate was opened by Captain Sir Tom Moore eleven months ago and has not treated a single coronavirus patient. It has, however, been used to carry out non-coronavirus diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments.

An NHS spokesperson said: “Throughout the pandemic, the NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber has played an invaluable role to support routine care in the region, providing safe and fast access to important diagnostics tests for patients.

“The NHS has been building resilience across permanent services throughout the pandemic and the time is now right to stand the Nightingale hospital down.”

The Nightingale was built to cope with coronavirus patients when hospitals could not and a Harrogate councillor has made calls for an inquiry into why it was not used in this way.

Councillor Jim Clark last month asked the West Yorkshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to support him in his calls for a probe into why the facility was not brought into action when hospitals were under severe pressure.

He said building the £27million hospital in just a matter of weeks was a "tremendous success" but questioned "if we had needed it, could we have used it?"

Leading figures in healthcare professions have previously voiced concerns that England's seven Nightingale hospitals would not be able to operate fully due to a lack of staff but officials behind the facility have continually insisted it would have been able to open if needed.

An NHS spokesperson said: "The Nightingale facility in Harrogate was created to improve the resilience of the Yorkshire and the Humber hospital network, providing additional critical care capacity.

"Thanks to the efforts of staff and support between local NHS services, we were able to provide care for all those who needed it within the region’s permanent hospitals."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter