The government has taken the unusual step of issuing a rebuttal to claims that the NHS Nightingale hospital in London’s docklands understaffed and a ‘white elephant’.

Several news outlets have claimed that the emergency facility built in record time with the help of the army cannot accept patients due to a shortage of critical care nurses and that the 4,000 bed facility has treated just 41 patients so far.

The Department of Health and Social Care refuted the allegations, claiming: “There is no shortage of nurses and all coronavirus patients who need treatment are being treated in existing London hospitals.”

Ministers say the hospital was “set up to treat patients if the NHS was overwhelmed, but thanks to the great work of selfless NHS staff, there is spare capacity in existing London hospitals.

The DHSC adds: “NHS Nightingale’s staffing model was always designed to be flexible based on demand across London.

“Critical care nurses working across the city have received additional training and are ready to be deployed to NHS Nightingale to treat coronavirus patients should capacity be reached in existing London hospitals.”

Date published: April 22, 2020

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