THE Harrogate based NHS Nightingale hospital will be ready to take patients if needed says Medical Director Yvette Oade but she called on people to do their bit to keep infections down.

The unit which has been set up in the Harrogate Conference Centre can offer up to 500 critical care beds if hospitals start to struggle to cope.

The centre was put back on standby earlier this month by the government along with Manchester and Sunderland Nightingale Hospitals as Covid-19 rates increased.

Ms Oade said the units are an insurance policy. "Infection rates in the region are among the highest in the country and we have seen hospital admissions rise quite quickly so I think people should be concerned and everyone needs to do their bit by practising hands, face and space."

She said right now colleagues were doing a great job and the hospital isn't needed.

The Nightingale units were not set up as conventional walk-in hospitals. Patients will only go if they are transferred from other intensive care units across the region. They will stay at the hospital until they are well enough to be transferred back to their own local hospital.