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What to expect from London's new Nightingale hospital

Posted on March 2020 By Jamie Southwell

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The ExCel centre, Newham, East London.

The first temporary coronavirus hospital will open this week in London's ExCel centre, with plans of holding up to 500 patients at first, but has the capability of adding an additional 4,000-5,000 beds if necessary.

London's new Nightingale Hospital will be taking in patients who were previously fit and healthy before contracting the virus, and redirecting those more prone to dying from it to normal NHS hospitals.
With Sir Patrick Vallance announcing there have been 8,000 hospital admissions since the middle of March, and that half of those took place in London alone, the new Nightingale will help to counteract that rapid overcrowding.

Staff in this new Nightingale will range from ​nurses, senior clinicians, support workers, doctors, and other vital social care staff. Among the regular NHS staff are those returning from retirement and airline workers who will perform support roles, under close inspection of the healthcare professionals working on the wards.
Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “Thousands of nurses, medics and other expert staff are returning to work alongside us, but we need everyone to do their bit – whether that is working in one of our current health or social care services, working in the Nightingale Hospital, volunteering to help the NHS or following government advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

A senior doctor with knowledge of the government's approach to temporary facility said 'There is a two-tier system, the sick will go to the ExCel and those who are very sick will stay in hospitals, because that's an appropriate use of NHS resources'. He also went on to specify that 'Anyone going to either of these will be critically ill, suffering from lung failure, and be on life support through a ventilator. The difference is those at the ExCel will require less life support, as that'll be the only thing wrong with them'.

NHS England have already announced they're planning to build two more temporary hospitals in Birmingham and Manchester, however they're also considering other sites across the UK. The Birmingham Nightingale hospital is being built in the city's National Exhibition centre, similar to the ExCel one in the type of patients it'll hold, and will be mostly staffed by GP's. When first opening the centre will have 500 beds, with the ability to fit up to 2,000, and the aim is to decrease the pressure for hospitals in the West Midlands, which has been named the second biggest danger zone in the UK. Manchester's Nightingale will be built at the Central Convention Centre, with more details to follow.

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