Leeds's Nightingale 'surge hub' at St James's Hospital has been taken down having never been used

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The Leeds Nightingale ‘surge hub’ which was set up to prepare for a potential wave of Omicron hospital admissions has been decommissioned by NHS chiefs having never been used.

Leeds was one of eight sites across the country where surge hubs were set up - each with a capacity of around 100 patients - under plans announced by NHS England in December last year in response to the high levels of Covid-19 infections.

An outdoor structure was built in the staff car park of St James’ Hospital at the beginning of this year but NHS England national medical director Professor Stephen Powis admitted at the time that he hoped “we never have to use these new hubs”.

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The Nightingale facilities were planned to be manned by a mix of hospital consultants, nurses and other clinical and non-clinical staff and designed to take patients who, although not fit for discharge, needed minimal support and monitoring while they recovered from illness.

The Nightingale 'surge hub' at St James's Hospital in Leeds. Picture: PAThe Nightingale 'surge hub' at St James's Hospital in Leeds. Picture: PA
The Nightingale 'surge hub' at St James's Hospital in Leeds. Picture: PA

The Leeds site was to cover the North East and Yorkshire region but it has now been deemed surplus to requirements and has been taken down.

While no cost figure has been provided for the Leeds site alone, health minister Edward Agar MP said in January that the overall "cost to date of establishing the eight Nightingale hubs" was around £10.6m.

Dr Phil Wood, chief medical officer and deputy chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The surge hub at St James’ is no longer required and has been decommissioned.

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“The hub was an insurance policy which, thanks to the support of people across the county, did not need to be used.

“The Trust is very grateful for the commitment and expertise of those involved in the project.”

It follows the standing down of the original Nightingale Hospitals which for Yorkshire was in Harrogate at the town’s convention centre.

Set up in April 2020 at a cost of more than £27m, the 500-bed facility closed in April 2021 after not treating any Covid-19 patients.

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It was one of seven built across the country to try and prevent hospitals becoming overwhelmed during the pandemic.

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