‘Surge’ care beds have been taken out of the Nightingale Hospital in Manchester as bosses look to ‘cease operations’ there by the end of March.
The £10m facility was built at Manchester’s Central Convention Complex last year to provide care for hundreds of Covid-19 patients across the north west.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands no decisions have been made at this time on the future of the Nightingale, but the NHS says it will remain open as long as it is needed.
Since October, the hospital has been treating non-Covid patients, though the number of occupied beds has continued to fall.
Six coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded at the hospital, the lowest across hospitals and health trusts in Greater Manchester.
But with many Covid patients still in intensive care in the city-region, local leaders say there is still a ‘long way to go’ before things return to normal.
Built in just under two weeks by Integrated Health Projects last April, the Nightingale Hospital had capacity for up to 750 beds.
He told a press conference on Wednesday: “The super surge beds have now gone, the occupation of the Nightingale is going down and it’s still on schedule to cease operations by the end of Manchester.”
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As of February 22, weekly Covid hospital admissions across Greater Manchester have fallen to 186 from 266 at the beginning of the month.
Over the same period the number of people being diagnosed with coronavirus while in hospital has fallen by a third from 406 to 244.
The drop in admissions was described as ‘very good news’ by Sir Richard, who said it was ‘clear’ that Greater Manchester had reached the ‘peak of the crisis a couple of weeks ago’.
The number of non-emergency hospital beds has also fallen from 872 to 617, while there are still 140 people in intensive care – down from 160 at the beginning of February.
Sir Richard added: “The number of ICU beds is relatively stable in numbers, it’s not going down that quickly but that was to be expected probably at least until the end of this month.
“There’s still a long way to go before we could say we’re able to return to anything like normal.
“The hospitals are predicting that we’ll have this number of ICU beds occupied not necessarily with the same proportion of Covid patients, probably until early April.”