• Government releases forecasted spend on Nightingale hospitals
  • Four Nightingales currently treating covid-19 patients
  • Birmingham Nightingale cost most to set up

England’s Nightingale hospitals have been forecast to cost more than half a billion, according to the latest government projections. 

Figures published last week by minister for innovation Lord Bethell revealed the total cost of the temporary hospitals would be around £532m by the end of the 2022 financial year.

The estimate includes costs for setting up the Nightingales, running costs, stand-by costs and decommissioning costs.

NHS England and Improvement is in the process of “reviewing all spending incurred” for the seven Nightingales, Lord Bethell told the House of Lords.

Last June, HSJ reported the government had spent £220m setting up the hospitals — one in each NHS region of England — and details of contracts for the work published a month later suggested spending of around £350m.

The £532m forecast includes all spending on the Nightingales so far and predicted spend for the rest of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years.

The figures show Birmingham Nightingale — set up at the National Exhibition Centre — was the most expensive hospital to create at £66.4m. This hospital has not treated any patients throughout the pandemic.

London’s Nightingale, which is believed to have treated a few hundred patients in total, cost £57.4m to set up.


Setup costs of the Nightingale sites

LocationSetup costs £m


















As of last week, patients were being treated in the Manchester, Exeter, Bristol and Harrogate Nightingales.

Most of the Nightingales’ bed capacity has been unused throughout the pandemic, and individual sites have been used for purposes other than treating covid-19 patients.

The London Nightingale has opened as a mass vaccination centre, while the Exeter Nightingale was previously used for diagnostic tests.

Accurate estimates of running, stand-by and decommissioning costs broken down at hospital-level are not yet available, Lord Bethell said.

The figures were released as part of a written answer to a question submitted in the House of Lords by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Greaves.