British health chiefs did war-game a coronavirus pandemic before the nation was eventually hit by Covid but tried to keep it secret, it was revealed today.
Matt Hancock — who faced a grilling from MPs today about No10’s failures throughout the virus crisis — has only ever confessed to carrying out a mock-up of a flu crisis called Exercise Cygnus.
- Only three of England’s seven Nightingale hospitals have ever been used to treat Covid patients.
- Cost to the taxpayer is more than £500m to set-up and keep on standby.
- Four of the Nightingales have never treated people with Covid-19.
- Only two of the hospitals have been used to treat Covid patients in during the second wave.
- Nightingales totalled up to £1.27m per inpatient as of January 2021.
- Only 272 inpatients were treated at the Nightingales up until January 2021.
- Nightingale Birmingham, which was the most expensive to set-up at a contracted budget of £109million – has never been used at all.
- Each Nightingale building cost between £409,000 and £1.2m a month to keep on standby.
- The bill to set up the hospitals was £346m, according to contracts awarded by the government to NHS trusts.
- NHS England has forecast total costs will run to £532m for the financial years 2019-21.
- At least £850,000 was also spent with consultancy firms on the construction of the Nightingales.
HOSPITALS had almost fifteen percent fewer patients this December compared with 2019, despite the Covid crisis.
But they are being ovewhelmed by the surge in infections because of a lack of beds and staff, experts said.A freedom of information request to NHS England revealed that on December 22, three days after Boris Johnson introduced tier four for millions, more than 13,000 fewer beds were occupied than the same date in 2019.
The new data suggests a key reason hospitals are struggling is this lack of capacity.