Covid-19: Stevenage's Lister Hospital to have 'Nightingale' hub by end of January

020221 Lister Hospital Stevenage Emergency department external
Credit: ITV Anglia

A "Nightingale"-style surge hub on the site of Stevenage's Lister Hospital could be built and welcome its first Covid-19 patients by the end of the month, said bosses.

It would be part of a network of "surge hubs" across the country - creating up to 4,000 additional beds nationwide.

With record daily cases of Covid-19 nationwide and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the NHS is preparing for a potential surge in patients.

According to Adam Sewell-Jones, the new chief executive of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, the hub would sit directly outside the main entrance to the Stevenage hospital.

Work on the site is expected to begin within days, he said.

But in a written report to the trust board - which is due to meet on today - he stressed that they hoped it would not need to be used.

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"As with the Nightingale hospitals built in 2020, we hope this space never needs to be used," he said.

"However, with record numbers of Covid infections, it is right that we create this additional space for beds now in case they are needed."

According to the report, there will be "dramatic changes" at the hospital's Plaza area - which sits outside the main entrance - "in the coming days".

Initially, said Mr Sewell-Jones, there would be preparatory groundwork - and then the construction works would begin "in earnest".

"The intention is that the Nightingale surge hub will be ready for use in late January, should it be required," he said in the written report.

"This Nightingale capacity is in addition to our existing detailed and comprehensive surge plans and would be based on a different clinical model being discussed and confirmed nationally," he added.

In his report to the trust board, Mr Sewell-Jones said that these numbers were "increasing on a daily basis".

Meanwhile, he said that staffing levels at the trust were "challenging at this current time", but "manageable", and praised the effort of staff over the festive period.