A temporary Lancashire hospital, which was set up to deal with a feared spike in Covid cases, is to close.

Preston’s Nightingale Surge Hub was built in the car park of Royal Preston Hospital, and was one of eight to be built across the nation to cope with a potential wave of Omicron hospital admissions.

Now the decision has been made to close the site, which officially opened at the end of January 2022.

Kevin McGee, chief executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the temporary hospital helped to “improve flow” across the local healthcare system.

He said: “The demountable Nightingale facility has provided the Trust with additional capacity to help improve flow across the local healthcare system.

“It is important we do not underestimate the incredible effort from colleagues, both clinical and non-clinical, who have been involved in its set-up, delivery and soon to be take-down.

“It really has been a whole Trust effort and colleagues should be proud of the part they have played in ensuring its success.”

This move comes despite Covid-19 hospital admissions continuing to rise among older age groups in England.

Patient levels are still some way from the peak reached during the wave of infections earlier this year, and the number of people seriously ill remains low.

However, the jump in admissions is another signal of how the virus is once again becoming more prevalent, with potential to add further pressure on hospital staff and cause wider disruption across the country.

The rate of hospital admissions of people with Covid-19 aged 85 and over stood at 97.5 per 100,000 last week, up from 67.6 the previous week, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

The number of new coronavirus cases rose by 18 per cent in the last week, with more than 4.1 million cases reported globally, according to the World Health Organisation.