Nightingale ‘Omicron surge hub’ in Bristol stands down as Covid cases drop

It was set up in preparation for the ‘worst case scenario’

A Nightingale ‘surge hub’ that has been on standby in case Bristol hospitals became overwhelmed by a wave of Covid admissions is set to be dismantled as cases start to drop off.

Construction on the temporary facility, on a staff car park at Southmead Hospital, began in January.

It was one of eight hubs set up across the country to prepare for a ‘worst case scenario’ as cases of the Omicron variant soared in the run-up to Christmas last year.

Construction began on the surge hub in January.

The facility had space for 100 patients but thankfully, it hasn’t had to be used.

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A North Bristol NHS Trust spokesperson said: “Although the local NHS remains extremely busy dealing with ongoing covid admissions and wider winter pressures, we thankfully no longer need the surge hub now the peak of the Omicron wave has passed.”

In an open letter to Bristol residents, the region’s Healthier Together partnership said: “Although all services remain extremely busy, we have thankfully now passed the peak of the Omicron wave.

“As a result, we are standing down the temporary ‘Nightingale surge facility’ that was set up in the grounds of Bristol’s Southmead hospital earlier this year.”

As all lawful Covid restrictions were lifted across the country on Thursday (February 24), the partnership urged residents to continue to take precautions.

The cumulative rate of infection in Bristol, which covers the whole pandemic, stands at 30,226 cases per 100,000 people - far higher than the England average of 28,201.

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The surge hub was one of eight set up across the country to prepare for a potential flood of Covid admissions due to the Omicron variant.

The letter reads: “As we work hard to catch-up on operations and appointments delayed during the pandemic, it’s vital that we keep hospitals, care homes, GP surgeries and other healthcare settings as safe as possible.

“For this reason, we will still ask you to wear face coverings, regularly wash your hands, and – where possible – socially distance when on health and care premises.

“This will help keep our settings free of infection and protect the most vulnerable from serious illness.”

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