Inside the Nightingale hospital as troops work round the clock to transform ExCel

Inside the Nightingale hospital as troops work round the clock to transform ExCel

With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise across the country, the Government announced last week the transformation of the centre into a NHS field hospital. In new images, new equipment, ambulances and designated cubicles have been installed into the east London venue. Opening next week, NHS Nightingale will be able to house 2,000 people and will comprise of two separate wards.

The venue which usually holds conferences will also have an initial 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen tanks.

Such is the scale of the task, the military have been called in to help aid in the logistics of the new hospital.

The number of cases of COVID-19 currently stands at 17,089 at the time of writing while the mortality rate has risen to 1,028.

Such is the speed of the operation NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens declared it was one this country has never seen before.


However, there are fears over who will run the hospital with both the military and NHS working at the centre.

A senior NHS figure told the Health Service Journal there was a difference of opinion on whether senior NHS clinicians or military doctors and medics would take the lead.

They said: “The default of hospital medics and managers is to try to continue business as usual, and assume resources are infinite.

“The military and ED consultants have a completely different mode of thinking — you accept that you cannot do everything for everyone and target treatment on those most able to survive and with a maximum quality of life.”

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Work has also begun on a temporary mortuary at Birmingham Airport with space for up to 12,000 bodies.

Speaking at the Government’s daily press conference, NHS England medical director Stephen Powis said the if the UK could stay below 20,000, they will have done a good job.

Mr Powis also declared the NHS had not yet hit capacity in terms of intensive car beds.

He said: “We are not at capacity yet within London, but beds are being opened all the time to produce that extra surge capacity.”

He did however, warn, the public could not become complacent if cases begin to decline.

He added: “If we can reduce the transmission rate, then the virus will start to decline.

That is a simple set of maths.

“If we comply with the measures, we will see a drop.”

Published at Sat, 28 Mar 2020 19:10:00 +0000