New NHS Nightingale hospitals will be built in Bristol and Harrogate, NHS England has announced.
An NHS spokesman said the sites in the south west of England and Yorkshire, which will have up to 1,500 beds if needed, have joined Manchester and Birmingham as the latest locations for major new facilities outside of London. Each will serve the wider regions in which they are located.
The spokesman said the first NHS Nightingale hospital, at London’s Excel centre, will open today and will be available as soon as patients across London and the south of England need it.
Further hospitals will open next in Birmingham and Manchester, offering up to 3,000 beds between them if they are needed as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Followed by a hospital at University of the West of England, Bristol, which NHS bosses say will be able to look after 1,000 patients.
Harrogate Convention centre will also be converted into a hospital which will be able to care for 500.
Dr Allan McGlellan, medical director of the NHS Nightingale, said: ‘I’m so proud to be a part of this extraordinary achievement and my team and I are ready to care for people who need us.
‘The NHS faces the greatest challenge in its history but by setting up this new site we can work with the hardest hit part of the country, to support staff in the capital’s other hospitals and make sure people who need intensive care can get it.
‘We are ready today to do what’s required of us, but my hope is that we are not needed, because if we all take sensible steps to reduce transmission of this virus then fewer people will need care and the pressure on my hardworking colleagues will reduce.”
The new hospital in Manchester will be built at the city’s Manchester Central Complex while the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham will take care of patients as needed in the West Midlands and the surrounding area, the region which has been second hardest hit by the virus.
Each of these new services will initially have up to 500 beds, potentially offering as many as 3,000 more between them if cases escalate.
Photo Credit – Excel Centre