Birmingham NEC Nightingale Hospital prepares to open for patients

The Nightingale Hospital being built at the Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre will be open and fully operational on Sunday, senior regional health chiefs have said.

Work continues tat the NEC to create a temporary hospital during the coronavirus pandemic
Work continues tat the NEC to create a temporary hospital during the coronavirus pandemic

There will be a ‘mock-up’ running on Friday, with doors opening to patients two days later.

The site, just off the M42, will initially have a 500-bed capacity which can be scaled up to about 1,500 or more if needed.

Extensive work was today being carried out on the site.

Medical equipment is being delivered to the NEC as well as general building and carpentry to create makeshift wards.

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Diggers, lorries and cranes mix with ambulances as part of a collective effort to get the new hospital ready in time.

Nick Page, of the West Midlands and Warwickshire strategic co-ordination group, said the Birmingham Nightingale Hospital will be ready on Friday but will actually see its first patients on Sunday in order for tests to be run.

It will be supported by a temporary mortuary, which has been created from a hangar at Birmingham Airport, which neighbours the NEC site.

A network of Nightingale hospitals are being set up in the UK in order to free up beds in existing intensive care units, ensuring that patients who need support from a ventilator are able to get the treatment they need.

Tesco has started work on its first pop-up store inside the new Birmingham site. The pop-up store is expected to be open within two weeks, with bosses in discussions with the NHS for other sites.

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said: “As part of our continued commitment to support and thank those in the NHS for all they are doing, we began work on Sunday on our first dedicated NHS Nightingale Hospital pop-up store, at the NEC in Birmingham."

The NHS Nightingale Hospital in London was formally opened at the ExCel centre on Friday by the Prince of Wales, who spoke via video-link from Balmoral.

The facility, named after nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, will need an army of up to 16,000 staff in clinical and ancillary roles to keep it running.

Split into more than 80 wards containing 42 beds each, the facility will be used to treat Covid-19 patients who have been transferred from other intensive care units across London.

It was set up by NHS contractors in just over a week with the assistance of around 200 military personnel.

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