Nightingale Hospital at ExCeL London to be placed on standby

The Nightingale Hospital at ExCeL London is set to be placed on standby and will no longer admit patients.

The hospital was created at the Docklands conference and exhibition centre in just nine days as part of the UK’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. However, it, could resume operations again if needed.

The facility opened on 3 April with space for 4,000 beds and treated 51 patients in its first three weeks of operation.The BBC reported that there are currently fewer than 20 patients being treated there at present.

Charles Knight, CEO of the Nightingale London, said most of the hospital’s capacity had not been used.

In a briefing to staff, he said: “Thanks to the determination and sacrifice of Londoners in following the expert advice to stay home and save lives, we have not had to expand the Nightingale’s capacity beyond the first ward.

“It is likely that in the coming days we will not need to be admitting patients to the London Nightingale, while coronavirus in the capital remains under control.”

He added that the facility would stand ready to be used again “as and when needed in the weeks and potentially months to come”.

And Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, indicated that the Nightingale hospitals would need to be kept as an “insurance policy for Covid patients”.

Almost 90,000 sqm of exhibition halls were fitted with the framework for around 80 wards, each with 42 beds. 500 beds were installed initially, with space for a further 3,500 if needed.

ExCeL London was the first of many event venues across the UK to be turned into an NHS Nightingale temporary hospital. Other venues that have been used in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak include Harrogate Convention Centre, Manchester Central and the NEC in Birmingham.

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