Trusts are rightly preparing for the worst and hoping for the best

30 December 2021

Commenting on NHS trusts' work to create extra Nightingale surge capacity, Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said:

"Given the uncertainty over how many Omicron COVID-19 patients the NHS will need to treat, trusts are rightly preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

"Building on lessons learnt from earlier in the pandemic, trusts are identifying extra capacity on existing hospital sites that could be turned into super surge capacity should it be required. Trust leaders hope this back up insurance policy will never be needed, as with the original Nightingales. But it must be the right 'no regrets later' move to make these preparations now.

"Given the other pressures on the NHS and the current level of staff absences, staffing this capacity would be a major challenge. But co-location on existing hospital sites maximises the NHS' ability to meet that challenge.

"We also need to recognise that this will add further stretch to an already hard pressed NHS."

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