The NHS Nightingale hospital will remain at Harrogate Convention Centre until next March, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
Additional funding of £3bn has been given to NHS England to maintain the emergency hospitals across the country in case of a second wave of Covid cases this winter.
In a briefing from Downing Street, Boris Johnson said:
“This will allow the NHS to continue to use the extra hospital capacity acquired from the private sector and also to maintain the Nighingale hospitals until the end of March.”
If cases remain at a manageable level for existing hospitals, the Nightingales will continue to offer extra capacity for routine testing and treatment. The Nightingale hospital in Harrogate has been offering CT scanning to non-Covid patients since June 4.
It was set up by armed forces and NHS professionals in just three weeks in spring to offer additional treatment facilities for patients from across Yorkshire and the Humber. Staff were trained on site, staying in local hotels, but no Covid patients were ever admitted and the hospital was eventually put on stand-by.
The NHS was not paying any rent for use of Harrogate Convention Centre under the initial contract. It is not yet clear whether rent will now be payable to Harrogate Borough Council, which owns and runs HCC.
Earlier this year, local businesses raised fears about the impact of having the convention centre unable to host events for at least a year. With the local economy heavily reliant on hospitality trade from public and trade events, many hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes could see a significant drop in their annual turnover as they try to recover from the coronavirus lockdown.
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