NHS Nightingale Hospital set to take first patients this week

On 24 March, the government announced it would turn the ExCeL Centre in London’s Docklands area into a temporary hospital to cope with patients affected by Covid-19.

Due to open this week, NHS Nightingale Hospital London will have between 4,000 and 5,000 beds.

An ambulance outside the NHS Nightingale Hospital

The Ministry of Defence has been helping set up the temporary hospital.

Nearby London City Airport has stopped all commercial flights until further notice and the airfield will be offered to the government “to help with the national effort” against coronavirus.

With thousands of EasyJet and Virgin airline staff are being offered work at the hospital.

NHS England said many airline staff were first-aid trained and already had security clearance.

The workers would be changing beds, performing other non-clinical tasks and helping doctors and nurses working on the wards, the NHS said.

England’s chief nursing officer, Ruth May, said: “The NHS is mobilising like never before but the scale of this challenge has not been seen in peacetime, so we need all the support we can get.

“Thousands of nurses, medics and other expert staff are returning to work alongside us but we need everyone to do their bit.”

Two more temporary hospitals are to be built, in Birmingham and Manchester, and NHS England said other sites were being considered across the UK.

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