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Temporary hospitals are beginning to spring up across England as the NHS prepares for a crucial month in the fight against coronavirus.
The Cumbria field hospitals will increase the bed capacity in the region by 500, with work having begun on Wednesday. However, HSJ has been told these are not linked to the ‘NHS Nightingale’ hospitals found elsewhere in the country.
NHS England will confirm the size and scale of the Harrogate field hospital in the coming days, HSJ understands.
A range of other venues around the country are also being considered, such as Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
Meanwhile, the government has sent an email to local resilience forum planners, asking them to urgently share stock levels and daily consumption rates of personal protective equipment, body bags, swabs and infection control products at ambulance, acute trusts and in primary care and other services.
The request — which was sent on Monday and asked for a response by 9pm on Tuesday — came from a Ministry of Defence planner at the resilience and emergencies division of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The email added the data collection was “authorised” by Number 10. This is despite a Downing Street spokesman on Tuesday telling reporters he had “not seen anything to suggest we don’t have enough [PPE].”
In other PPE news, after weeks of supply issues, the management of PPE has been taken over by Clipper Logistics (which also made headlines on Monday after staff complained they couldn’t follow social distancing rules at work).
The new PPE-only supply channel is supposed to send daily deliveries to trusts and, as of next week, supply community partners. The idea is to free up NHS Supply Chain to focus on business as usual deliveries, which have also suffered delays in recent weeks.