Social care needed its own Nightingale support system - The Yorkshire Post says

The opening of the new Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate last week by new national hero Captain Tom Moore represented a logistical triumph and was rightly cause for celebration.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock gives a message via videolink at the opening of NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and Humber in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

But another altogether bleaker Covid-related development in the town highlights the disparity in the support being offered to care homes in the fight against the deadly virus. Vida Healthcare, which supports almost 200 residents at two care homes in Harrogate, has revealed it has been waiting 10 days for testing kits to arrive after a first consignment was never delivered following the deaths of two residents.

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The extraordinary national effort to create temporary Nightingale hospitals around the country and reduce the likelihood of existing intensive care units becoming overwhelmed with patients has been one of the most impressive parts of the national response to the crisis.

Harrogate Nightingale Hospital on opening day last week.

But there ought to have been an equivalent Nightingale system in place for social care - allowing those showing symptoms to receive specialist care where possible rather than being left in homes and risking further infections of fellow residents as well as staff.

As late as February 25, Public Health England was advising care homes there was no need for staff to wear facemasks as it was “very unlikely that anyone receiving care in a care home will become infected”. But by April 10, more than 1,000 deaths had already occurred in care homes.

It is already too late for many, but with many of the Nightingale sites now sitting largely empty, serious consideration should be given to evacuating elderly patients with coronavirus in care homes to the new temporary hospitals.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

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James Mitchinson

Editor