Covid-19: Expanding the use of the Nightingale

“Expanding the use of the Nightingale in London makes perfect sense. The challenge the NHS will face as the peak of the virus is reached will be to restore care and treatment to many patients who have been denied support while the system geared up to cope with this crisis.

Responding to the leaked letter in the Health Service Journal about consideration being given to increasing the number of patients cared for in the Nightingale London site, including to restore routine services, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“Make no mistake, the NHS has moved mountains and developed a level of service everyone said would be impossible. Now over the next few weeks it will have to start moving towards a different approach. It will need to keep a good level of service for COVID-19 patients, have the ability to flex again in case there is another surge, and at the same time start to manage the huge unmet demand the emergency has caused. Using Nightingale capacity for COVID-19 patients is one way to do this and allow hospitals to start re-establishing some services that have been curtained or stopped.

“It will be vital that we do not return to normal business as there have been countless innovations and new ways of working that leaders of the NHS are determined to retain and build on, including remote consultations, new cross working between teams, collaboration with social care and much else. These remarkable changes that might have taken years have been achieved in days – not only in hospitals but also in mental health, GP and community services.

“As one leader put it, we’re not going back to normal, we must embrace a new and very different future.”

Photo: Vudi Xhymshiti/Shutterstock.com

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