The Government has still failed to announce any additional public restrictions.
NHS staff say they are confused over how the Government plans to staff the new so-called “Nightingale Hubs”.
Temporary hospital wards capable of housing around 100 patients will be erected in the grounds of eight hospitals across the country to deal with a surge in COVID-19 hospital admissions.
Meanwhile, the Government has failed to announce any additional public restrictions or lockdown measures.
NHS trusts have also been asked to identify areas such as gyms and education centres that can be converted to accommodate patients and more Nightingale sites could be added to create up to 4,000 “super surge” beds across the country.
Earlier this month NursingNotes reported that whole wards are being run by a single registered nurse due to an acute on chronic shortage of staff.
Preparing for all scenarios.
Announcing the new hubs, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said: “We’ve backed the NHS at every turn throughout this pandemic to make sure it provides the care and treatment people need.
“I want to thank the tireless efforts of our health workers on the frontline who are delivering for patients every day.
“We hope the Nightingale surge hubs at hospitals will not have to be used but it is absolutely right that we prepare for all scenarios and increase capacity”.
If hospitals need to activate the new beds after exhausting every other option, equipment previously used for the original Nightingale hospitals will be rapidly distributed to them.
Patients may include those recovering from COVID-19 who are no longer infectious and do not need intensive oxygen therapy.
The units would be led by hospital consultants and nurses, but with other clinical and non-clinical staff brought in with rapid training to be able to perform routine checks and other tasks.
One senior nurse told NursingNotes; “It’s not physical space or equipment hospitals are struggling for, not having enough staff to provide safe and effective care is the limiting factor.”
Social media was filled with confusion and concern from other nurses about the new plans.
With hospitals already closing wards and services due to staffing shortages, critics have been quick to point out there is no tangible plan on how to staff these new areas.
Nurses United UK has called the new Nightingale hubs a “meaningless soundbite”.
Lead organiser for the group, Anthony Johnson said; “I do wonder whether this Government has been talking to nurses on the frontline? Or has it just been their pollsters?”
“There are no more nurses. Every nurse I am speaking to talks of half of their team being consistently off, and then there are over 40,000 vacancies plus our colleagues retiring because they don’t feel valued.
“The Nightingale hubs are another meaningless soundbite which diverts attention from real measures to make things better for all of us like the increase in public health measures we are seeing in the other 3 nations of the UK.”