Bootham Hospital could house patients again during coronavirus outbreak

Bootham Park Hospital. Photograph: Richard McDougall

Bootham Park Hospital is being considered as a site where extra beds could be provided during the coronavirus outbreak.

More hospital space may be needed to cope with increasing numbers of patients in York.

And York Central MP Rachael Maskell says the former mental health hospital is one of those under consideration to increase capacity for the NHS if it must cope with a high number of seriously ill residents.

She said health bosses are also looking at whether space could be found at mental health hospital The Retreat or even school gyms.

Ms Maskell said: “There could be a very high level of sick people in the city and we can’t see where they are all going to go.

“We will need serious space. There have been some discussions.”

Considering other sites

Rachael Maskell outside Bootham Park Hospital. Photograph: YorkMix

She said: “I continue to have discussions about additional provision in the city, and sadly I have also had discussions about how palliative care will be provided for those who are not treated in hospital and will require additional support at home.”

She added that following social distancing advice, good hygiene and staying at home are crucial to helping the NHS and protecting people.

A spokesperson from York Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said bosses are considering different sites.

They said: “Extra capacity has been created on our hospital sites in anticipation of the increasing numbers of patients by moving wards and utilising areas differently.

“This is in line with national guidelines.

“We are also in discussion with partners across the city to create additional capacity to keep up with the demand amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“This also involves working closely with the local authorities to support the discharge of patients home or to other care facilities.”

Mental health hospital

The new 72 bed Foss Park mental health hospital in Haxby Road is also set to be completed this month.

Martin Dale, strategic project manager for the scheme, said: “We remain on track to transfer services to the hospital in late April as originally planned.”

City of York Council is working to get people who are currently in hospital home as safely and quickly as possible. And they are prioritising housing adaptations for residents who need them in order to be discharged from hospital.

NHS England has announced that a new NHS Nightingale hospitals will be built at Harrogate Convention Centre to provide hundreds of extra beds if local services need them during the outbreak peak.