Bristol Nightingale - Use It, Do Not Lose It.
With news released today that NHS Nightingale Bristol has not yet accepted any patients, the Bristol Lib Dem’s are calling for the Bristol Nightingale Hospital to be actively used to treat all Covid-19 patients in our area for the foreseeable future.
Thanks should go to all those involved in the rapid development of the NHS Nightingale hospital. We would also like to give special thanks to Maureen Ellington, a healthcare assistant at Southmead Hospital, who after 25 years of working for the NHS, tragically passed away in early April due to COVID-19.
Instead of mothballing this facility we should be using it to take the strain off our other NHS hospitals. Patient safety must be paramount, and a dedicated hospital for COVID 19 patients will improve the safety of patients using NHS facilities in the Severn region.
Across the country there have been worrying drops in non-COVID 19 referrals, with A&E attendances falling by 54% year on year. Even extremely important services are seeing significant drops, with cancer referrals down by 75%, mental health referrals down by 30% and one specialist cardiology hospital seeing a 70% reduction in patients with suspected heart attacks. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, people are actively avoiding hospitals and GPs for fear of contracting the virus. There is a real fear that non-COVID excess deaths, resulting from people not receiving necessary treatment, could be higher than the number of deaths caused by COVID-19.
We need to concentrate our resources for fighting COVID in one location, the NHS Nightingale, and allow other areas of the NHS to resume their essential work while reducing public fears around cross-contamination.
Gary Hopkins, Lib Dem Council Group Leader said:
“Our hospitals have coped well with the Covid-19 surge but that has been at the expense of many thousands of other much needed treatments and operations.
We know that our local hospitals are not at capacity now but they are massively handicapped in trying to deal with the backlog, with operating theatres turned over to Covid-19 and many patients frightened to come into hospital because of Covid-19 fears. Covid-19 is highly dangerous and infectious, and hospital staff are hard pushed enough without dealing with the dangers of internal cross infection.
Although we have probably seen the biggest surge, this virus is not going to suddenly disappear, and unless we use all the facilities we have and allow our hospitals to concentrate on everything else we could have huge excess deaths and waiting lists that are years long.”
Mary Page, Bristol Lib Dem Mayoral candidate added:
"I completely understand the stark and harsh choices patients with other conditions are facing about whether to attend hospitals because of fears over contracting Covid-19 on top of their pre-existing conditions. Recently I had to visit St Michael’s Hospital due to a two week urgent referral.
I faced that choice between accepting treatment for a potentially urgent medical condition or face the increased risk of contracting Covid-19, or even inadvertently being a carrier of the disease just by going. I can't praise the staff highly enough for their dedication and kindness, from the security guard on the door ensuring we all took hygiene precautions to protect the staff on entering the building, to the consultant and scanning staff who treated me."
We the undersigned ask the Government to adjust guidelines that state the NHS Nightingale Bristol should only be used as overflow for COVID-19 patients, to make it the centre of COVID-19 treatment in our area, in order to lessen the burden on other NHS facilities, and improve patient safety.