Nightingale hospital ‘turned away more coronavirus patients than it treated’

The Nightingale hospital is “turning away more coronavirus patients than it is treating”, a leaked document has suggested.

Dozens of Covid-19 sufferers have been refused transfer to the overflow facility because there are not enough nurses to treat them, according to NHS documents seen by The Guardian.

A total of 50 people needing urgent care have not been granted admission, 30 due to “staffing issues” and 20 on medical grounds because they were “too unwell to transfer” or did not meet the hospital’s strict clinical admission criteria, it is claimed.

The disclosure will add to fears that the 4,000-bed temporary hospital, which was built in a mammoth operation lasting just nine days, is not sufficiently taking the strain of other intensive care units in the capital.

Last week it was revealed that only 19 patients were admitted over the Easter weekend, bringing the total number of admissions to 41 – four of whom have died..

One medic told The Guardian there weren’t enough critical care nurses to staff the Nightingale as they were being “run ragged” at other hospitals.

The 30 patients refused admission since April 9 were from Northwick Park hospital, in north west London, which was forced to temporarily close its doors to new patients last month following a surge in cases.

Other hospitals which have had transfers blocked include the Royal Free in Camden, St Mary’s in Paddington, the Royal London in Whitechapel and the North Middlesex in Enfield, according to the documents.  

The Nightingale was opened by Prince Charles on April 3 and admitted its first patients on April 7.

It was rapidly built over concerns hospitals in the capital would be overwhelmed by patients requiring intensive care.

NHS England said in a statement last night: “It’s routine for transfer requests to be turned down if a receiving trust doesn’t think they are the best placed to receive them, and there is ample capacity in other hospitals across the capital.

“Nightingale’s staffing model was always designed to be flexible based on demand across the city so that it doesn’t take staff away from other trusts unnecessarily.”

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