Nightingale ‘surge hubs’ to be set up at sites including William Harvey Hospital in Ashford

William Harvey Hospital

The NHS is setting up new Nightingale surge hubs at hospitals across the country – including at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford – as part of preparations for a potential wave of Omicron admissions.

Temporary structures capable of housing around 100 patients will be erected in the grounds of eight hospitals across the country, with work starting this week.

The Nightingale hubs will improve NHS resilience if rising number of COVID-19 infections leads to a surge in admissions and outstrips existing capacity.

Placing the new Nightingale facilities in hospital grounds will make it easier to flex staff and equipment if there is a surge in admissions, providing access to diagnostics and emergency care if required.

NHS Trusts have also been asked to identify areas such as gyms and education centres that can be converted to accommodate patients and more Nightingale sites could be added to create up to 4,000 “super surge” beds across the country.

The move comes as hospitals are using hotels, hospices and care homes to safely discharge as many people who are medically fit to leave as possible.

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen 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.

“Staff across the health service are working around the clock to provide the best possible care to patients and rollout the NHS Covid vaccination programme.

“The public can play their part by following the guidance to limit the spread of infection and by getting boosted now.

“The science is clear. Two doses of vaccine do not provide enough protection against Omicron so if you have not yet had a life-saving booster do not delay any longer.”

If hospitals need to activate the new beds after exhausting every other option, equipment previously used for the original Nightingale hospitals will be distributed to them.

The new Nightingale facilities would take patients who, although not fit for discharge, need minimal support and monitoring while they recover from illness, freeing up regular ward beds to provide care for those with more intensive needs.

Patients may include those recovering from COVID-19 who are no longer infectious and do not need intensive oxygen therapy.

The units will be led by hospital consultants and nurses, but with other clinical and non-clinical staff brought in with rapid training to be able to perform routine checks and other tasks.

Local NHS teams are already working closely with councils, social care and hospices to support as many people as possible to be discharged safely from hospital, either to other local facilities or with support to recover in their own home.

A national deal with Hospice UK will see up to 4,800 people a day who need ongoing monitoring, but don’t need to be in hospital, be supported either in a hospice bed or through Hospice@Home teams.

Local leaders have also been told to consider using hotels and care hubs in care homes to provide places for people to recover before going home, rather than in hospital wards.

The use of virtual wards, where patients get monitoring technology and regular check-ins from clinicians to allow them to return home earlier safely are also being ramped up by hospital teams, while GPs also have access to up to 250,000 pulse oximeters so that COVID-19 positive patients can monitor their own blood oxygen levels at home ensuring only those who need to be are admitted to hospital.

The first eight of the Nightingale surge hubs will be at the following hospitals:

South East – William Harvey Hospital, Ashford

North West – Royal Preston

North East and Yorkshire – Leeds, St James’ site

Midlands – Solihull Hospital, University Hospitals Birmingham and University Hospitals Leicester

East of England – Lister Hospital, Stevenage

London – St George’s

South West – North Bristol


  1. Nothing in East Kent the medical profession seems to get their boundaries wrong the William Harvey Hospital is in West Kent lined up with Tonbridge wells and Medway towns this is why people were against the removal of our stroke unit.

  2. Please don’t believe the recent propaganda campaign about 90% of people in hospital are unvaccinated. It is 48%. Still over represented, but we can’t keep swallowing lies like this to allow the government to shift blame

    • So what your saying is that the ITV Meridian News at 6.10pm on the 22nd December lied when they said 90% of those people hospitalise with Covid were NOT vaccinated, is that it? What is more worrying though, is that Professor Stephen Powis said we are now on a “War Footing”! On a war footing with a chump like Johnson in charge, we haven’t got a chance! And where are the 2 chocolate MP teapots in North and South Thanet when we need them? Why are they not out there stringently encouraging people to get vaccinated, wear a mask, and self isolate as much as possible!

      I have just read that a mob wrecked a Covid Testing station, why? A third of people with the virus don’t know they have it, so could be spreading the virus around potentially killing people like me, who are “Clinically extremely vulnerable”. Time that it was made mandatory to be vaccinated!

      • Doesn’t wash-Margate hospital has a seventh of the pressure it was under a year ago when it didn’t collapse. The ITV report was one doctor in a hospital in London claiming such & somehow in the current clown world where national journalists don’t question anything any longer & just parrot off the government line, or whatever a man in a white coat at the sacred NHS that can never be questioned tells them, that becomes a fact-London having only roughly a third of people having been vaccinated-so it wouldn’t be overly surprising really.

        The war only exists in people’s heads-you can either choose to keep believing the incorrect predictions we have had for 2 years & continue living in a siege state with rights being taken away on a regular basis-no matter how many times you are promised your basic freedoms if you keep getting jabbed, or look at the actual evidence & refuse to be controlled any longer.

        Why exactly are you so keen for a Stasi state where people have no rights & people have to be jabbed & show papers to do anything? You have just the same chance as catching Covid from somebody fully jabbed as you do from somebody who hasn’t been jabbed-it doesn’t make you immune from catching or spreading it, so your view is totally irrational-just like the rule in churches that you have to wear masks to sit down being silent, but can take them off when standing & singing(spitting everywhere)-when you are at greater risk of spreading/contracting it-do you not ever question these bizarre rules/rituals that make no sense?

        If you have been getting all the jabs then you cannot have great faith in them, seeing as all the promises made about them & freedoms have been shown to be nonsense & now they admit boosters are pretty much useless in three months or less & even start losing effectiveness 2-4 weeks after you have it you are well justified to be so. Chances are if you haven’t had it & had serious side effects by now then you will not, now we have a variant that is insanely mild.

        • Your a moron Steve! How many people do you know who have died of Cholera, Typhus, Chicken or Small Pox, Measles, Diphtheria, Tubucolisis, Poliomyelitis, Scarlet Fever, and many more diseases that were once common, the answer is none, because they have been eliminated by vaccination programmes!

          There is NO excuse for not being vaccinated, not for your benefit but for others who are “carriers” as we used to call them, who could be spreading Covid unknowingly if they have it! Check out the TDC Website and see the weekly toll of Covid cases, running at over a 1,000 a week at present! If sufficient end up in hospital because they haven’t been vaccinated (90% its been reported), then they could overwhelm hospitals, which could lead to another Lockdown! Anyone failing to get vaccinated is a moron!

        • “Stasi state”- really! Slight inconvenience for those who want to go to nightclubs and football matches, rather.

      • Media Control, organised by the Government possibly. The advert on every ad break with Chris Witty telling everyone to get boosted is brainwashing. ‘Media Control’ rearrange the letters and you get ‘Delta Omicron’ !! ‘Omicron’ on it’s own rearranged is ‘Moronic’. Just anagrams I supposed but makes you suspicious of it all. Yes, sitting here shielding with nothing better to do.

        • Not media control; not brainwashing. I don’t get suspicious when I see an anagram and if you do, you need to get out more.

      • You are well and truly gone in the head dumpton. And it’s bigger than you are just manipulated by the news. A certain number of older people such as yourself are getting an enjoyment out of this. Your lives aren’t really too effected, but subconsciously you are enjoying seeing young people lose the rights that you enjoyed having. They are being brought down to your level of happiness and freedom and you like it. Sickening really. We also saw this to be certain extending with the brexit vote. Not that I disagree or agree, but older people never minded their young losing the freedoms they had. Please watch out for this everyone

        • I don’t think older people are enjoying the fact that young people are now less able to do all the things they want to do. What on earth do you mean Trete, by “They are being brought down to your level of happiness and freedom and you like it”? It is your absurd negative view of people that is sickening.

          • I agree with you on this one Marva. However I would ask what exactly the WW2 soldiers who gave their lives for our basic freedoms would make of what has been happening & how people have just accepted & given up their rights for phony promises, lies & to deflect from their own conduct-still trying to do it even with all the positive evidence of Omicron, against all logic.

        • Trete your a moron too! I served this country in the army when the Ministry of Defence was called the Ministry of War, did you? What it did teach me was to be highly suspicious, and have a healthy disrespect for people in authority, which has never left me! But because my career demanded knowledge of science in the nuclear industry, I go by the facts, so please read my Comments above, just recently posted, and don’t be a moron!

    • Also we now discover that as some of us here have been saying around a third of those in hospital with Covid actually did go in with other health problems & it was only discovered they even had Covid due to hospital testing as they had no symptoms.

      We are being told that Omicron is the major strain now with that magic 90% figure being bandied around again-yet of the 9 & a half thousand in hospital with it the other day only 650 odd had this strain & the rest were all Delta-which just backs up the 70% less people going into hospital with it evidence & again should make anybody wonder why the panic & why the insistence on fourth jabs & boosters for the entire population? Delta is nearly done & soon the mild strain will be the one. Yes cases are rising, but deaths aren’t & soon the numbers in hospital will start dropping just as they did at the same point in South Africa. Wonder what wheeze Whitty, Van Tam, Boris etc will come up with to keep people in fear at that point?

      The lies & hype is finally emerging big time & even those like Piers Moron who have been the biggest cheerleaders of restrictions & parroting off the government line are now starting to ask questions.

      • Also it appears as some of us have also been saying that a lot of those diagnosed have actually caught it while in hospital-showing the incompetent NHS management are still putting non-Covid patients on Covid wards nearly 2 years on & making the problem they keep complaining about worse. It has been clear for a long-time only those with Covid should be on Covid wards-which should be in totally separate facilities.

    • Peter if we don’t make it mandatory for people to be vaccinated, hospitals may well soon be overwhelmed by people who refuse to be vaccinated, and lack of NHS staff!

      • How do you figure that Dumpton? Seeing as Omicron is 70% less people having to go into hospital & Bozza now claiming that is around 90% of people now infected with Delta almost extinct. The NHS are the biggest problem-infecting uninfected people with it due to incompetence & a third of those going in for other issues then being diagnosed with it-even though they had no issues. Good way to keep the fear going. Exponential increase has also slowed we have learned today.

        Yet here you are, somehow still wanting to force needles into arms-at gunpoint one presumes? Having lockdowns etc.

        • Of course people have rights long fought for, but I have a right NOT to be infected, or possibly be killed by some moron who thinks they have the right to infect me, and who won’t get vaccinated! They could possibly kill me with their high minded nonsense not to get vaccinated, explain that to the relatives of the 150,000 odd people who have been killed by the virus so far, over 500 in Thanet alone according to the TDC Website, that updates it every week! At present in Thanet over 1,000 a week are going down with the virus, and yes it may be less lethal, but its sufficient to put many in hospital, or off work for several weeks! This is very worrying because nurses and other hospital staff are having to take time off work sick, which will exasperate another Lockdown possibly! Scare mongering about the country turning into a dictatorship just proves how moronic some people are! Don’t be a moron, get vaccinated, wear a mask, and self isolate as mush as possible, you know it makes sense!

          • Update from TDC Website this morning 3rd January 2022: There were 1,693 cases of Covid last week reported in Thanet! This brings the total in Thanet to 25,275, with 539 deaths. Hospitalisations are down because most people have been vaccinated, and if they get the virus they are less likely to die, or need hospital care. But it still means hundreds are very ill, and unable to work! These figures are very concerning because its a steady increases of cases week by week, since November 25th when only 578 cases were reported. Stop all the negative anti vaxxer nonsense, and get vaccinated and Boostered NOW, unless you want to end up as one of the TDC statistics too!

      • If they ever make it mandatory to be vaccinated this country is finished. Sorry but you should move on and enjoy a country where they like dictatorships. Forced injections is an implorable idea

  3. Ashford postcode starts with TN as does tunbridge wells and tonbridge. Thanet, Canterbury and dover have a CT postcode. Ashford is NOT geographically in EAST Kent whatever medical professionals say

  4. So according to you sheerness is in East Kent!! Kent is divided into 4 postcodes tn, ct , me , and dt. Representing the 4 areas of the county rather than only 2 that you wrongly quote

  5. Who cares a toss what the postcode is or the geographic nomenclature!
    The stark fact is that Covid/Omicron infections are the highest ever, with increasing demands on NHS services. Demands that are increasing difficult to meet, because NHS staff are going down with symptoms in their thousands.
    The message should be: for your own sake and the sake of your community, do whatever you can not to increase the load on NHS services. Until a week or so ago that would have included taking a LFT before going out clubbing, but because of hopeless planning by this government, tests are not available.
    So do whatever else you can to avoid ending up in a Nightmare Hospital, no matter where it is.

    • Death rates are also way lower than ever Andrew. They are counting people already in hospital for other things as covid hospitalizations. Which are gonna add to their figures this cold is spreading so fast. A propaganda campaign led people to a frenzy of testing over Christmas. When people keep testing when they feel healthy the numbers are gonna stack. I know people who have poured orange juice on the test just for the £500 or time off work

      • Death *rates* are lower, but Omicron is dare far more contagious than Dalta. So far far more people will become infected, and many will suffer illness, long covid and death. All these things impose burdens on our hospitals.
        People can spread covid days before they become symptomatic. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a LFT before engaging in an activity likely to harm others, whether that’s going to visit an elderly relative in a care home, or meeting your mates in a club.

        • But it gives nearly everybody who gets it a cold/winter bug that doesn’t need hospital treatment. The other day out of around 9 and a half thousand Covid cases in hospital only 650 or so were Omicron-despite the government telling us Omicron is now around 90% of those infected with Covid-says it all.

          Why are you still panicking & pretending this is some catastrophe when the evidence is & has for weeks been so clear? Is this some kind of Stockholm Syndrome where you have been mentally broken down the last two years by the lies, doomsday predictions & embellishments that turned out to be false/incorrect every time? You have a desire for jabs that are useless/not required by the majority of the population to whom Covid is nothing more than a cold or winter bug? Jabs that don’t stop you passing it or spreading it just like an unjabbed individual & will need every few months as they lose effectiveness.

          • There is no Stockholm Syndrome involved, just behaving sensibly. Why should having an injection every year bother people? The flu vaccination is an annual one.

          • No problem with anybody getting jabbed if they wish to Marva-only people being forced to get them or get fired & other human rights denied if they don’t. Although the boosters everybody has been urged to get only last 10-12 weeks, so you will not be having a yearly jab like the flu. You will be getting multiple jabs & boosters & the NHS will totally shut down-meaning the millions on waiting lists will just grow longer.

    • The people who actually need NHS care-like that poor 15 year old whose appointments were cancelled & now he has a terminal brain tumour, a needless death sentence-thanks to the government & NHS throwing everything at a cold virus for two years while people’s cancers become inoperable, undiagnosed,they die of heart attacks, strokes, take their own lives, are hooked on pain pills etc because their GP’s are still hiding away & only emerge when they are being paid extra to perform a jab most people don’t even need every couple of months.

    • Of course it won’t be needed. Just like the last one. Remember when they said they had birmingham airport for all the bodies? Our tax money spent just to supplement a fear campaign to strike fear that so many will be in hospital. What staff are gonna cover these hospitals when they are already removing so many for not having a jab? They re supposedly short already? Just think logically. Don’t be hypnotised by their campaigns and tax waste to fund it

      • Reminds me all those decades people worried about a nuclear war with Russia that never happened-remember those stupid leaflets & adverts in the 1980’s? Fear is king, sadly people don’t want reality & don’t question anything or even bother to look at evidence.

  6. With 100000 HCP vacancies in the NHS, it’ll be interesting to hear where the staff will come from. Depleting staff from already short staffed wards & departments? Expect decline in standards of care

    • It’s laughable Esme. These people were at their windows clapping like seals when the government told them to treat them like heroes. Same government says they don’t deserve to be part of the nhs and people agree. 100k who see with their own eyes against the jab says it all

      • I think all conspiracy theorists simply want a big gang that they can hang out with, either online or (incautiously) in person.

      • Well: for once I have to agree with you.
        There is little doubt that the an ambition of the tories is to privatise the NHS.

        • Yep, they already started some time ago-they had McDonald’s, Burger King etc giving money in return for setting up shop outside heart wards-they know their audience! Junk food carts being pushed around on Bariatric Wards full of 400-600 pounders-much to the disgust of the Bariatric surgeons.

          I was disgusted several years back going to a local Dietician centre-you had to wait in reception with a canteen full of fizzy drinks, chocolate, packets of crisps etc in your eye line. Not a problem for me-but a big problem for the majority of their clientele who are there for obesity issues.

  7. Let’s hope they stay open longer than the ones in 2020-the world class establishments that were going to be handling Covid cases & greatly easing the pressure on NHS hospitals. The ones that after great cost, hype & fanfare were then bizarrely & never addressed by the government left empty-with random members of the public going in, wandering around filming & asking what was happening.

  8. “If you have been getting all the jabs then you cannot have great faith in them, seeing as all the promises made about them & freedoms have been shown to be nonsense” – What a load of b that statement is. Defend yourself in any way that you can. We all know how miss leading anti vaxxers can be, more vaccinated in hospital ( most people are vaccinated so what do you expect, people still getting covid (yes some do & mostly dont get put in hospital etc.

    • I am no an anti-vaxxer, I am a supporter of vaccines-just not these ones, although I do agree with personal choice for people to have them or not to have them. You cannot have escaped the promises made by the government regarding getting jabbed & freedoms that haven’t come true though.

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