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Coronavirus: First look inside London’s field hospital being built at ExCel centre

NHS Nightingale will ultimately be able to treat 4,000 patients across two wards

Rory Sullivan
Saturday 28 March 2020 14:23 GMT

The government has released photos of London’s new field hospital under construction at the ExCel centre.

The images show soldiers and contractors building and erecting rows of cubicles at the venue.

The new hospital, known as NHS Nightingale, will be able to accommodate 4,000 patients in two wards.

It is expected to open this week and will initially have 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen for Covid-19 patients.

The NHS will also construct further temporary hospitals in Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Scotland.

The other two NHS Nightingale hospitals will be in Birmingham and Manchester, with the potential to hold 2,000 and 1,000 beds respectively.

Wales’ Principality Stadium, owned by the Welsh Rugby Union, will also be converted into a temporary field hospital with 2,000 beds.

Len Richards, chief executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “The facility will allow us to free up capacity at our other hospital sites so that we can continue to provide services to patients with other health conditions.

Before the scale of the coronavirus outbreak was known, the UK was thought to have one of the lowest proportions of intensive care units in Europe.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, says there are 33,000 available beds for coronavirus patients.

Efforts to source medical staff and non-clinical workers for the large new units have started.

Additional reporting from PA

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