I tabled the following written question
Question: Desmond Swayne
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will secure additional facilities to enable Nightingale hospitals to accommodate patients that are not intubated. (92665)
Tabled on: 21 September 2020
The Nightingale hospitals are available to support the National Health Service when needed. Local clinical leaders are working to determine how this is done whilst considering the needs of all patients requiring NHS care.
The answer was submitted on 07 Oct 2020 at 13:41.
Now the answer was due several days earlier, so the department clearly needed longer to think about it. Nevertheless, the discerning reader will observe that the answer is pretty opaque, It might mean nothing at all.
My purpose in asking the question was this: I want to see the NHS getting back to normal by treating all the other routine and life-threating conditions that are killing us off other than Covid-19 (which, after all, is only killing less than 2% of those of who are dying).
One way to achieve this would be to resume normal service in those wards, operating theatres, and hospitals that were converted for exclusive Covid-19 use and to put the Covid-19 patients, as far as possible, in separate units, with the Nightingale hospitals being obvious candidates.
Now, one of the reasons why the Nightingales were so underused is that they could only accommodate ‘intubated patients’ i.e. patients who are sufficiently unwell to have to have had a tube inserted down their airway and sedated. They would also, as a consequence, be catheterised.
The hospitals couldn’t take patients that were not entirely bed-bound because they didn’t have enough lavatories.
Given that we’ve had all summer to address the issue I thought I’d ask if we’d taken the opportunity to remedy the matter. With all those events companies unable to do normal business, surely we could have rustled-up deluxe facilities supervised with military precision.
Alas, the answer suggests not.