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25
Mar

Army drafted in to prepare new NHS Nightingale hospital


A new hospital, based at the ExCeL conference centre in East London, will open next week to provide support for thousands more patients with coronavirus.

 

The NHS Nightingale Hospital, London, will initially provide up to 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen, but will have the capacity to increase, potentially up to several thousand beds, should it be required. It will be equipped with oxygen and ventilators.

 

NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens says: “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.

 

“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.”

 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “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.”

 

In what Health Secretary Matt Hancock calls a “remarkable feat”, military personnel have worked with NHS staff to plan the new hospital, providing infrastructure, logistics and project management support and advice.

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says: “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.”

 

The majority of staff at the new NHS Nightingale Hospital will be NHS, drawing nurses, doctors and other professionals from across the health service, supported by a number of military medics who will also tend to patients. 

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