Inside UK’s first NHS Nightingale hospital set up in response to coronavirus pandemic

The first images of Britain’s first NHS Nightingale Hospital, the first of several created to help alleviate pressure on the health service during the coronavirus pandemic, have emerged.

Construction workers, with help from British Army soldiers from the Royal Gurkha Rifles, have transformed London’s Excel centre into a 4,000 bed emergency facility.

The 600-metre-long Excel has 87, 328 sq metres of space and is usually used for exhibitions and conferences, including a G20 Summit and events for the London 2012 Olympics.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said building new hospitals in “very short order” was an “extraordinary action”.

The hospital, based in Canning Town, east London, is set to open next week with 500 beds but there are plans to expand that to 4,000.

The Nightingale Hospital is Phase One of the effort to increase the number of hospital beds available in the UK.

A 5,000-bed field hospital will also be opened in Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC), as well as 1,000-bed facility in Manchester’s Central Convention Centre.

The Welsh Rugby Union has also made the 74,000 seat Principality Stadium available to be turned into a 2,000-bed hospital as well.

Clinicians from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board will work with stadium managers and contractors to convert the stadium in Cardiff’s city centre.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said on Friday: “”As of today across England, we have reconfigured hospital services so that 33,000 hospital beds are available to treat further coronavirus patients.

“It is also why we are taking the extraordinary action to build new hospitals in very short order, starting with the NHS Nightingale hospital in east London.”

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