Hospital reassurance following Nightingale hub plans

Fewer people are being treated for Covid at Suffolk's hospitals this year

ESNEFT has responded to the announcement of surge hubs at hospitals in England. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Covid patients in Colchester and Ipswich will continue to receive hospital treatment in the region as the NHS announces it is setting up eight new surge hubs.

On Thursday, eight sites were confirmed to operate at hospitals in England, with the closest to East Anglia in Stevenage. 

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said the hubs are to prepare for a potential increase in Omicron hospital admissions.

At East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, plans are in place to continue treating patients locally. 

An ESNEFT spokesman said: "All hospitals have been asked to make ready additional capacity for both Covid-19 and other reasons.

"We at ESNEFT have our own plans, and hope to treat local people locally.

"The Nightingale surge capacity is there in case of an urgent need. This is just in case there is a huge surge, just like in the first wave. 

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"What we would do, and what we always do is treat people while we can, and send them elsewhere if necessary."

Professor 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.”

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