It's been confirmed that a small number of seriously ill COVID patients have been transferred to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary from the south of England because of pressures on the health system there. The exact number of critical care patients involved is not being revealed, though it is fewer than five individuals.
The practice of transferring patients, at times of great pressure on the health service, is not confined to the pandemic though it is more likely to happen within regions.
In a statement, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust told us:
The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to manage significant pressure either from high COVID-19 infection rates or non-COVID winter demands and this has always included mutual aid practices whereby hospitals work together to manage admissions across the region or further afield if required.
In a separate development, it has been also been confirmed that the Nightingale North East remains on standby for use if required during the COVID crisis. The hospital, in Washington, opened last May to provide extra capacity should it be needed.
The NHS Nightingale Hospital North East remains a valuable resource to support the local area and remains on standby, ready to quickly step up based on expert clinical advice, if needed.