Next week will see the ExCeL conference centre in East London transform into a new hospital to provide support for the growing number of coronavirus patients.
Announced by NHS England, the NHS Nightingale Hospital will initially provide up to 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen. The capacity will then continue to increase, potentially up to several thousand beds, should it be required.
Military personnel have been involved in the planning stages and are now supporting NHS England by providing infrastructure, logistics and project management advice.
NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “Under these exceptionally challenging circumstances the NHS is taking extraordinary steps to fight coronavirus. That’s why NHS clinicians and managers are working with military planners and engineers to create, equip, staff and open the NHS Nightingale London, and we’re very grateful for their support.
“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.”
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.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “In the face of this unprecedented global emergency, we are taking exceptional steps to increase NHS capacity so we can treat more patients, fight the virus and save lives.
“I applaud the NHS, engineers, and the military for their continued work on setting up the new NHS Nightingale Hospital so it is ready to open its doors next week – a remarkable feat in these challenging circumstances.”
The NHS Nightingale Hospital will draw nurses, doctors and other staff from across the health service, as well as a number of military medics to tend to patients. The majority will be NHS staff.
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