Harrogate Nightingale contract extended until March 2021
Last updated Aug 17, 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre has been transformed into the NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber
The Nightingale Hospital contract was due to expire at the end of July.

Harrogate’s Nightingale Hospital will remain in place until March 2021 after its contract has been extended

It comes after weeks of uncertainty after NHS bosses and Harrogate Borough Council negotiated for the hospital to remain in place until next year, but will review its need in October.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month announced £3 billion of funding for the Nightingale hospitals across the UK to be maintained until the end of March if needed.

The temporary hospital, which cost £15 million to build, has to yet to treat a single coronavirus patient but has been used as a facility for outpatient CT scans since early June. The NHS is not paying any rent to the council for use of the convention centre.

Now, the Nightingale will could remain in place for a further seven months amid fears of a second spike in coronavirus cases.

Paula Lorimer, director of Harrogate Convention Centre, said:

“We have agreed to the NHS’s request to extend the contract due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the challenge of the current level of infections and potential for a second peak.

“The convention centre will continue in its role as a Nightingale hospital until March 31 but this will be reviewed on October 1 to assess if there is an ongoing need for the hospital.

“The events industry remains in lockdown until at least October 1 and, if there is a further rise in infections, it is unlikely we will be able to reopen anyway.

“I look forward to welcoming back our customers from the April 1, 2021, at the latest when Harrogate Convention Centre and the Royal Hall will reopen.

“We are very proud to support the NHS and the response to Covid-19 but we continue to lobby government at every level for a post-Nightingale recovery plan for the venue, and the Harrogate district.”

Meanwhile, earlier today, Cllr Jim Clark, North Yorkshire County Council chairman, and Cllr Helen Hayden, chair of West Yorkshire Joint Health Scrutiny Committee, wrote to NHS England to request that Harrogate’s Nightingale is kept until next year.

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In a letter to Richard Barker, regional director at NHS England, the councillors call for the contract to be extended until April 2021 as it is needed to serve the Yorkshire area.

Inside of Harrogate's Nightingale Hospital

The convention centre is unable to plan ahead for future events whilst the future of the Nightingale is uncertain.

Cllr Clark and Cllr Hayden said they disagreed with “dismantling” the Nightingale amid the threat of a second wave of coronavirus.

They said:

“We know there is a view in some quarters that the Nightingale Hospital should be dismantled and that the building should revert to being a convention centre. 

“We disagree. The next seven or eight months, when we are likely to see a “second wave” of the virus, on top of a “normal” increase in demand from flu patients are likely to be very difficult. 

“We think it is very likely that the Nightingale Hospital at Harrogate will be needed either for covid-19 patients or for other patients who are unable to access beds in the other West Yorkshire hospitals (and beyond) because they are filled with covid-19 patients.

“We ask that the Nightingale Hospital remain as a resource for the health system until at least April 2021 as an important part of the strategy to see us through winter. 

“We also plan to include the Nightingale Hospital as an item on the agenda for our meeting on September 30 and we would welcome your attendance at the meeting to discuss the Nightingale Hospital with us.”