What happened to the Nightingale capacity?

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what happened to the beds and medical equipment from the Nightingale hospitals. (90312)

Tabled on: 09 December 2021

This question was grouped with the following question(s) for answer:

  1. To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the total cost was of setting up, running and closing the Nightingale hospitals. (90311)
    Tabled on: 09 December 2021

Edward Argar:

Total projected funding for the Nightingale hospital programme was ring-fenced at £466 million. National Health Service providers are currently auditing the accounts for 2020/21 and the final spending outturn will be published in due course.

NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that regions were responsible for co-ordinating the redistribution of assets including beds and medical equipment from the Nightingale hospitals. Each host trust is responsible for managing a list of these assets. The remaining surplus stock has been collected and made available for national redistribution under the existing warehousing, asset tracking and logistics contracts.

The answer was submitted on 15 Dec 2021 at 14:57.


  1. Mark B
    May 21, 2022

    Good morning.

    £466 million !!! As someone who has worked on the construction of new hospitals and the renovation of existing, all I can say is that is a rip-off for something that was supposed to be temporary.

    Like so much else with this government and its spending, it is reckless and profligate with taxpayers money.

    1. Everhopeful
      May 21, 2022

      But the IMF in 2021 ordered countries under their sway to “spend as much as you can, and then spend a little bit more”.
      I bang on about it because I just do not understand the advice nor why it was taken!

      Is that why they pay consultants £3,000 per day?

    2. NigL
      May 21, 2022

      Spot on and of course we have never been told how many patients were put in them, because an overall amount is meaningless.

      Treat tens of thousands at a low cost per head, efficient, treat a few at vast cost, inefficient.

      I suspect the latter.

      And in related news the DT is flagging comments from senior Tories etc that this government is resembling the decay of Major leading to Blair.

      Johnson was, is a hot air BS machine built on sand. To me Frostie has all the credentials and views so ship,him in.

      1. Sea_Warrior
        May 21, 2022

        The Conservatives seem unwilling to ditch Johnson, as they should have after the local election results. We are now stuck with the lemon until the next general election. I weep for my country.

      2. BOF
        May 21, 2022

        It was the latter!

      3. Mark B
        May 21, 2022

        They were never used.

      4. Rodney Atkinson
        May 22, 2022

        The disgraceful thing about the Tory party is that the excellent “Frostie” is the only credible candidate.

        1. hefner
          May 23, 2022

          Lord Frost? ‘Has he ever been elected by any citizens of any country?’

          1. Peter2
            May 23, 2022

            Therefore you ought to like him hef.

    3. DavidJ
      May 21, 2022


    4. Mark J
      May 21, 2022


      Totally agree.

      However, this Government wasted a fortune of OUR money during the pandemic. Then expects us to fund the bill for their mistakes. Not on!

      What is being done about recovering the billions lost to fraudulent loans and furlough money that was freely dished out, without any kind of checks being done? Absolutely nothing, I bet!

  2. Bloke
    May 21, 2022

    The Nightingale’s nest is constructed with leaves as well as grass, usually at ground level.
    Checks will flee when they are around 12 days old.

    (Something smells wrong in Govt sentence error).

    1. Mikey
      May 21, 2022

      We’ll some of it is being redistributed on EBay I have just bought MK double sockets for £2 each advert says fitted but never used !!

  3. R.Grange
    May 21, 2022

    Sir John, you were told nearly six months ago that ‘National Health Service providers are currently auditing the accounts for 2020/21 and the final spending outturn will be published in due course.’ My impression is that NHS trusts have now published their 2020-21 accounts, so ‘in due course’ has already happened. Is an update now in order?

  4. Nottingham Lad Himself
    May 21, 2022

    There never was such substantive capacity.

    In healthcare a building alone is not capacity.

    It requires the staff and organisation to become that.

  5. lifelogic
    May 21, 2022

    Rather an expensive PR stunt then!

    1. Mickey Taking
      May 22, 2022


  6. DavidJ
    May 21, 2022

    Like many government institutions the NHS excels in squandering taxpayers’ money.

  7. Everhopeful
    May 21, 2022

    How much better to have spent those millions on local accessible health facilities
    that would still be open and being used.
    For such a carbon woke lot the govt really has no idea about the difficulties ( all caused by them) of travel.

  8. Little Englander
    May 21, 2022

    “Each Host Trust is responsible for managing a list of these assets”. REALLY? out of sight (even when on site) out of mind! The only ‘EXCELLENCE’ in the NHS is/are the Medical Professionals and ALL those that work on that front line with them in the wards -Cleaners, Porters and those preparing /providing food to the Patients in other words all those dedicated to Patient care including the ambulance service that bring them in in the first place. ‘Back Office” personnel such as CEO’s and Administrators etc fulfill a function but I can’t help feeling (rightly/ wrongly)that to them ‘it’s a job’. LEARN from those on the front line and make it ‘A Dedication to Serve’! Reform your Adminstration, cut out archaic rules and red tape and begin to act responsibly to lessen the grind that the Medics and those that assist them face daily and in that way BEGIN to support them FOR ONCE. By doing that you will EARN OUR RESPECT.

  9. Sharon
    May 21, 2022

    Local government is as bad. The vast number of generous donations made for the Afghan refugees are still sitting in a warehouse because our borough only had two families from Afghan. However, no-one else is allowed to use the donations, because they were for the Afghans.

    With pressure and there being 150 hosts of Ukrainians, permission has been granted to allow the Ukrainians to request some stored items. I ask you! Would the council have stored these items forever? And how much is it costing to store these items – that I don’t know.

  10. Beecee
    May 21, 2022

    But what happened to the beds, medical equipment, etc.?
    They clearly do not know where it is, only that it must be somewhere.

  11. Christine
    May 21, 2022

    I went to a vaccination centre this week. There were at least a dozen staff stood around doing nothing as they only had one person to vaccinate. Yet I have to wait three weeks to get a doctor’s appointment because vaccinations are taking priority. How many people are dying because they can’t get to see their doctor?

    1. No Longer Anonymous
      May 21, 2022

      In my own circle I have lost – wait for it – 15 friends to cancer and heart conditions that were not spotted during the Covid crisis. There are two friends in a critical condition with cancer – they will be dead soon.

      Some of these people were older but five were under sixty.

      These are all people with whom I could share a cuppa and have a chat and several were very close. These are not the anecdotal “Friend of friend whose name I do not know” that you hear so much with Covid deaths.

      I know of not a single person personally – in the way that I do those above – who has died of Covid.

      The rate of deaths is beyond anything I have experienced in my life.

      In what way have we saved the NHS ?

    2. BOF
      May 21, 2022

      Almost everyone I meet now is shunning ‘more jabs’, and wonder what the point is if you can be jabbed and boosted, but you can still catch it and pass it on!!

  12. Sea_Warrior
    May 21, 2022

    O/T, is Truss softening us up for the UK to extend defence guarantees to Moldova? That country, though poor, is yet another than hasn’t spent enough on its own defence. If anyone is to provide defence assistance it should be the EU, which is now considering a rush-application for membership. A battalion of the French Foreign Legion, with lots of missiles, would be enough to deter Putin from attacking. But I do wish someone would deter Truss from trying to spread our pitifully small army along an ever-increasing front-line.

    1. Philip P.
      May 21, 2022

      On 17 February, S_W, the British government announced a Memorandum of Co-operation with Ukraine (and Poland). A week later Russia invaded Ukraine, and is now reportedly in the process of destroying its ability to resist. I think Moldova would be well advised to reflect carefully before going down the same route and looking to GB as its saviour. As a small country, it would surely be better off by not acting provocatively against any large powers in its neighbourhood, I would have thought.

  13. turboterrier
    May 21, 2022

    Someone is extracting the urine.
    What audit controls were put in place?
    Who handed out the contracts?
    Surely people have got to be held accountable especially as they were never used. You cannot make this up.
    Still it’s only our money, they no doubt have been moved on to the next project

    1. Mickey Taking
      May 22, 2022

      Audit? – what a thought! not regards Government spending.

  14. Iago
    May 21, 2022

    Were these Nightingale hospitals ever used? How many patients used them?

    1. Hat man
      May 21, 2022

      Hardly any needed to use them.

  15. graham1946
    May 21, 2022

    Hope the equipment is properly stored in warehouses and not in shipping containers in fields like the PPE is currently, until they find it is no use any more, having paid the most expensive way to store.

  16. ChrisS
    May 21, 2022

    I can understand why the idea of these hospitals was pursued and anything done in a hurry is bound to be expensive, however, when the money had been spent, why on earth were they not used to isolate Covid patients from the rest of the patients in hospital for routine treatment ? I remember our discussing the possibility here at the time.

    Literally thousands of lives could have been at least prolonged had this been done, especially among the elderly community in care homes who would then have been protected against having patients with covid discharged into their homes.

    The ultimate responsibility for this must lie with the NHS rather than ministers but were they not pressed to use the additional capacity in this way ? The excuse of lack of staff is not acceptable given the fact that all the patients in the Nightingales would have been suffering the same illness and could be treated by fewer staff. Then there would also have been far fewer incidents of Covid in our hospitals because there would have been little or no spread of the infection to other patients.

    It looks like a dreadful and fatal mistake.

    1. Sharon
      May 21, 2022

      I understand there weren’t enough doctors and nurses to man the nightingale hospitals. Plus, I don’t think there were actually that many Covid patients, that the hospitals were coping.

      It was no good if you had anything else wrong. During that period, I had a blood test and an x-Ray. I kid you not, I was back at the car in 20 mins, having had both done. The hospital and car park were both nearly empty.

    2. BOF
      May 21, 2022

      In spite of what we were told, the hospitals coped, just as they always have in bad flu years! As always, the Ferguson modelling was wildly out. Perhaps he should be presented with the bill.

      1. Mickey Taking
        May 22, 2022

        better would be a new verson of spreadsheet software, and a series of courses starting with ‘Excel for Dummies’.

  17. glen cullen
    May 21, 2022

    The taxpayer money wasted on the nightingale project is nothing compared to the nhs ‘test and trace’ debacle

    1. G.Wheatley
      May 30, 2022

      Indeedy-do. An inital 22 BILLION was allocated, which very soon rose to £35 billion with a £15 billion ‘injection’. My understanding is that a total of £55 BILLION was ‘available’.

      The UK National Debt is now over £2,400,000,000,000 – over £2.4 TRILLION quid.
      That whole Covid debacle added c.£500 billion to that total in under two years, our having taken decades to build the preceding £1.9 trillion.
      I’m sure you have even more detailed figures for that Sir John?

      iirc The Birmingham Nightingale Hospital opened and closed without a single bed being occupied.

      And then there’s the £9.5 Billion written-off over fraudulent PPE contracts.

      People should go to jail over this. People should already be doing time for this!

  18. BOF
    May 21, 2022

    £466,000,000 pounds is a lot of money for tents. Even tents with beds! No doubt the final figure will be higher, post audit.

    As there were only a handful of beds ever occupied I think we can be sure that was another half a billion quid down the snicket, and listening to TPTB (scientists, techie giants, politicians), it will not be long before yet another pandemic/plandemic just ‘happens’ to engulf our world.

    Will that mean a repeat of the last two years Sir John, with the distinct possibility of WHO ordering governments of the world how to respond?

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      May 21, 2022

      BOF. They are already saying money pox could be the next pandemic. Yet another vaccine? Not for me. I’m vaccine out.

      1. BOF
        May 21, 2022

        Agreed F u s. For me, despite my senior years and too close acquaintence with ICU, there will be no jabs, no masks and no lockdown. ALL have failed.

      2. Clough
        May 21, 2022

        ‘Moneypox’ is good, FedupSoutherner. Inadvertent, but rather close to the truth, I fancy. We’re actually supposed to call it monkeypox, though.

        Mad cows, birds, pigs, bats and now monkeys: a whole menagerie of creatures to scare us with, over the years. Will it work this time, I wonder?

      3. Mickey Taking
        May 22, 2022


  19. XY
    May 21, 2022

    So, as always, they found a way to not answer the question.

    But there is never a follow-up question. Or a tightly-worded question that corners them into answering.

    A follow-up would be to ask what the plans say about a publication date for these costs. There must be a plan, everyone works to a plan, however broad-brush it may be there must be a target. Of course, if there is no plan then a major issue would’ve been identified.

  20. Bryan Harris
    May 21, 2022

    Another non-answer…

    Shouldn’t these people be taught to respond to direct questions with actual data that can be used against them – For it is obvious they are not being totally free with the facts

  21. Everhopeful
    May 21, 2022

    As predicted, monkey pox ( the “k” being silent ) is causing the WHO to convene an emergency meeting, as U.K. cases are allegedly set to double 😷.
    Even the NHS hasn’t caught up with the propaganda as yet and is saying that the disease is not deadly.
    But never mind…Health Sec is promising that he will not let the Pandemic Treaty compromise our sovereignty. So that’s ok then…..

  22. Little Englander
    May 21, 2022

    The reason for that is simple : they were constructed in double quick time by the Army who were going to assist in Manning them and they were destined for Covid 19 patients ONLY to keep them separated from other patients. The Home Office relaxed Visa entry for qualified overseas Medics and nurses with selected personnel brought in within one week such was the seriousness of the disease. CEOs decided not to use these facilities because THEY wished to keep control therefore they channelled Covid patients into General Hospitals and caused horrific problems for the Medics trying to work there. CEO’s were determinedly not going to make use of the Government’s Visa relaxation; didn’t bring in overseas Medics who were only too willing to work in one of the greatest Medical Institutions IN THIS WORLD; instead they banked on our own exhausted, overworked and valiant Medics to do the job knowing them to be thoroughly dedicated people who could not/would not refuse. My own family member (a Senior Registrar) worked for 2 years in a High Dependency Covid Ward with very regular shift patterns of 72 hours and he was one of the lucky ones – others died! It’s different today once it was over 6 Senior Specialist Doctors in his cohort resigned in a period of 1 and a half months – 3 of them went to Canada, 2 to Australia and one to NZ. Better family work/life balance and better pay. We lost them from one hospital and why? Back Office CEO’s did not WANT to lose control of their Empires- there was and still is fierce resistance to anything that they consider to be interference. Medics know the consequences of ‘whistle blowing’ DISGRACEFUL!

  23. Sea_Warrior
    May 21, 2022

    I’ll restate an earlier suggestion that any new conference centres built in this country should be designed so as to be readily convertible, at minimal expense, to emergency hospitals.

  24. Denis Cooper
    May 21, 2022

    Off topic, this is an interesting journalistic article by Tony Connelly:


    “In Plain Sight: London’s long game on Protocol”

    And this is an interesting legal article in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties:


    “Article 61 – Supervening impossibility of performance”

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