Birmingham’s NHS Nightingale hospital hasn’t had a single patient

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Birmingham’s NHS Nightingale hospital has yet to treat any patients 10 days after opening.

While the number of coronavirus cases in the Midlands has previously been high, ongoing social distancing measures have resulted in a drop in hospitalisation figures.

This means the region’s new pop-up facility, which is housed in the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) has, so far, not been required.

The chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said it was a “good thing” the hospital had not received patients.

It showed the NHS had “absorbed” the extra pressure Dr David Rosser said.

“It was never going to be a great thing to have to open this extra capacity because it didn’t come with new staff,” he said. “And of course the more beds you open the more you need to stretch.”

He added: “We would all prefer that these beds – just like the extra beds the NHS has freed up across the region – are needed as little as possible, and so we would continue to urge members of the public to stay at home to help NHS staff save lives.”a large white building: The hospital opened 10 days ago but has yet to receive any patients © PA The hospital opened 10 days ago but has yet to receive any patients

A UHB spokesman confirmed no patients have yet been admitted and it is still “unknown” if any COVID-19 patients will actually be sent there.

“There are very many unknowns at the moment. Naturally, the Nightingale is always a worst case scenario,” a spokesman told BirminghamLive.

“If hospitals run out of capacity then it can start to take patients. It has to remain there as contingency.”

He said if one hospital is at capacity and another has capacity then patients would be taken there rather than the city’s Nightingale.

The site has been built to treat up to 500 coronavirus patients -with capacity to expand to 4,000 beds should the local trust become overwhelmed.

It was designed as a “stepping down” ward, where patients who had previously been receiving critical care and were now in a state of recovery, or those who did not require ventilation.

The NHS Nightingale Birmingham is expected to remain open for 12-18 months.

The pop-up hospital is one of seven in the UK, with sites in Manchester, London, Bristol and Harrogate. The Sunderland and Exeter hospitals are set to open at the end of the month.