Birmingham’s Nightingale Hospital to be operational within days

The 500-bed facility located at the NEC complex will be open for patients from April 12.

The NEC in Birmingham
The NEC in Birmingham

The Nightingale Hospital being built at the Birmingham NEC will be open and fully operational on April 12, senior regional health chiefs have said.

There will be a “mock-up” running on April 10, with doors opening to patients two days later.

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

Coronavirus – Fri Apr 3, 2020
The NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre in London opened on Friday (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Nick Page, of the West Midlands and Warwickshire strategic co-ordination group (SCG), said the hospital will begin “full admission” by the end of next week.

Speaking at a webinar of regional civic, health and transport chiefs on Friday, Mr Page, who is Solihull council chief executive, said: “The 10th of April is when the Birmingham Nightingale Hospital will be ready to see patients.

“As I understand it, they will be running the mock up of that on April 10 ready to start full admission in and around the April 12.”

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

He added that Birmingham’s first drive-through Covid-19 testing station for NHS workers is being set up at Edgbaston cricket ground, and it will be fully operational by Monday.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said that following a call to health chiefs earlier on Friday, no further testing sites in the region are scheduled to open – but he added: “They are looking to change that very shortly.”

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.

Edgbaston testing facility
A Covid-19 testing centre for NHS staff at Edgbaston should be open on Monday (Jacob King/PA)

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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