OVER half-a-billion-pounds is expected to have been spent on the ‘super hospitals’ which were first intended to provide support to overrun NHS sites during the pandemic.
The government recently revealed the total cost of the seven Nightingale hospitals in England will exceed £530m, as updated on by health minister Lord Bethell, who said the bill including set-up, running costs, and the whopping bill to ‘decommission’ the generally unused sites.
The Birmingham facility, which was built by Interserve and designed by BDP, was the most expensive of the seven projects, costing £66.4m – but is yet to treat a single patient.
The hospital built at the ExCel in London was the second-most costly – with set-up costs hitting £57.4m, while the field hospital built by Bam in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, cost £27.3m.
Established last spring amid fears that the NHS might be overwhelmed, the temporary hospitals in England were largely not needed and have been slammed by many as a gross waste of taxpayer cash. Some are now being used as rehab centres and vaccination hubs.
Seven Nightingale hospitals were built in England, starting in April 2020 with the 4,000-bed facility at London’s ExCel centre. Another was set up in Belfast, while Scotland and Wales had their own temporary hospitals.
But they were never used on a large scale, bizarrely because the NHS claimed it did not have enough trained staff to fill the Nightingales as well as the permanent hospitals – despite a government-led drive to recruit NHS staff and volunteers which saw over 500,000 British citizens apply.
The news of the entire scheme’s imminent end before it ever truly began, comes following what appears to be an attempt to subtly wind-down the London site towards the end of last year, with Reform UK party leader Richard Tice being one of its most outspoken critics.