Darren Adam 1am - 4am
Matt Hancock insists it's fantastic the Nightingale Hospital has been put on stand-by
5 May 2020, 08:14 | Updated: 5 May 2020, 08:59
The Health Secretary insists it's great that the Nightingale Hospital has been put on stand-by after treating just 54 patients.
The hospital was built with great fanfare in just nine days and had the capacity to treat 4,000 patients with coronavirus.
But since being opened by Prince Charles on 3rd April, just 54 patients have been there and it has not admitted a new patient for a week as other London hospitals have had spare capacity in their own intensive care units.
Some have claimed that makes it a waste of money, but the Health Secretary insists this is a good news story.
He said: "I think it is a very, very positive thing that we haven't had to use the full capacity of the Nightingale.
"I've seen some media reports saying 'the London Nightingale Hospital isn't needed any more, what a scandal'. It's absolutely fantastic for the nation that we haven't had to fill up a 4,000-bed hospital with people with coronavirus. It's good.
"The number one objective as Health Secretary in this crisis is to flatten the curve to control the spread and to make sure there's always been enough NHS capacity and we've achieved that."
Nick asked how many staff were employed to staff a hospital that was barely used. Mr Hancock responded: "We had the staff needed to take up to 500 patients and then we had the plans ready to expand it further. The number of staff wasn't an issue."
Asked how much it cost, Mr Hancock insisted: "It hasn't finished yet. We are putting it on stand-by, so it still will be there in case there is a spike, but we don't want a second spike."
Watch the full interview at the top of the page.