Yorkshire Nightingale Hospital’s future unclear, says council

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NHS England/Simon Dewhurst

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The hospital is based at the Harrogate Convention Centre, owned by the council

The future of Harrogate’s Nightingale Hospital has yet to be decided despite a government pledge to keep it until 2021, the borough council has said.

The 500-bed field hospital is based at Harrogate’s Convention Centre, which is owned by the local authority.

The council said it is still in talks with the NHS over how much longer it will be needed.

Boris Johnson has announced £3bn to maintain the seven Nightingale hospitals until the end of March.

The plan is part of measures to safeguard against another spike in coronavirus cases this winter.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the news comes as a contract between the council and NHS England for the venue’s use expires on 31 July.

The temporary hospital has not treated a single coronavirus patient since opening at the peak of the outbreak in April.

It was used for the first time last month when it opened outpatient radiology appointments for non-coronavirus patients.

A spokesman for Harrogate Borough Council said: “The prime minister has confirmed that money has been set aside to keep the Nightingale hospitals available until 2021.

“We continue our discussions with NHS Yorkshire and Humber about what role Harrogate Convention Centre will play, but nothing has yet been decided.”

The council faces a £9m deficit as a result of the pandemic, most of which is lost income from the convention centre.

The NHS is not paying any rent to the convention centre or the council.

NHS England has been contacted for a comment.

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