A NEW Nightingale Hospital is being built on Solihull Hospital’s car park.
It is being set up to combat a potential wave of Omicron admissions as coronavirus rates rocket to some of the highest levels ever seen.
NHS England said the facility would be set up at Solihull Hospital and be deployed if increased infections led to a surge in admissions.
Temporary structures capable of housing around 100 patients are being erected on the grounds of eight hospitals across the country.
The NHS says placing the new Nightingale facilities in hospital grounds will make it easier to flex staff and equipment if there is a surge in admissions, providing access to diagnostics and emergency care if required.
The move comes as hospitals are using hotels, hospices and care homes to safely discharge as many people who are medically fit to leave as possible.
The other hubs will be in Leicester, Preston, Leeds, Stevenage, London, Ashford and Bristol.
NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Given the high level of Covid-19 infections and increasing hospital admissions, the NHS is now on a war footing.
“We do not yet know exactly how many of those who catch the virus will need hospital treatment, but given the number of infections we cannot wait to find out before we act and so work is beginning from today to ensure these facilities are in place.
“We hoped never to have to use the original Nightingales and I hope we never to have to use these new hubs.”
If hospitals need to activate the new beds after exhausting every other option, equipment previously used for the original Nightingale hospitals will be rapidly distributed to them.
The new Nightingale facilities would take patients who, although not fit for discharge, need minimal support and monitoring while they recover from illness, freeing up regular ward beds to provide care for those with more intensive needs.
Patients may include those recovering from Covid-19 who are no longer infectious and do not need intensive oxygen therapy.
The units would be led by hospital consultants and nurses, but with other clinical and non-clinical staff brought in with rapid training to be able to perform routine checks and other tasks.