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NHS Nightingale field hospital due to open

01 April 2020

The NHS Nightingale field hospital is due to open in London's ExCeL Centre, only 10 days after building work began.

The UK's first Coronavirus field hospital will initially have 500 beds, but is designed to eventually treat up to 4000 previously healthy people struck down by COVID-19.

London patients in need of intensive care, with the best chance of survival, will be taken to the Nightingale Hospital, sited in the Docklands area.

Military personnel help workers in erecting cubicles and carrying equipment into the transformed centre and NHS staff helped unload medical equipment, such as oxygen tanks, heart monitors and defibrillators.

Jeremy Rees, CEO, ExCeL London, said: “Our country is facing the largest national emergency for a generation and our thoughts and sympathies are with those who are personally affected by this situation. It is crucial that everyone plays their part in the national effort, working with the Government to combat the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.

“We are proud to be able to accommodate the increasing demand for hospital beds and will work with the NHS to facilitate this request. The team at ExCeL London will ensure that we work with the Government and relevant authorities to support their efforts in seeing the British people and the UK through this unprecedented crisis.”

NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said: “Under these exceptionally challenging circumstances the NHS is taking extraordinary steps to fight coronavirus.

"This will be a model of care never needed or seen before in this country, but our specialist doctors are in touch with their counterparts internationally who are also opening facilities like this, in response to the shared global pandemic.

"Despite these amazing measures, the fact is no health service in the world will cope if Coronavirus lets rip, which is why NHS staff are pleading with the public to follow medical advice - stay at home, stop the virus spreading, and save lives.”

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “This is the single biggest health challenge our country has faced in generations, and we need everyone to follow the guidance set out by government about how to stay safe and practise good hygiene.

“Nurses, midwives and care staff across the NHS and social care always step up to the plate, and I’m thrilled but unsurprised that some of my retired colleagues are ready to re-join the NHS at this crucial time for our country, which is seeing the NHS ramp up the number of beds, services and facilities to help people to manage over the coming weeks and months.”

Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said: “Our military planners and engineers are working hand in hand with the NHS to support their development of the NHS Nightingale Hospital. The Armed Forces have already been distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet the increased demand and we stand ready to assist further in any capacity needed.

“The NHS and our Armed Forces are both world leaders in their fields, and this ambitious project is just one example of what can be achieved when they come together to help the nation.”

ExCeL London is being refitted to take hundreds of beds with oxygen and ventilators.

The NHS Nightingale Hospital will draw nurses, doctors and other staff from across the health service, as well as a number of military medics will also tend to patients. The majority will be NHS staff.