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Army to turn ExCel Centre into new hospital with space for 4,000 coronavirus patients

Army to turn ExCel Centre into new hospital with space for 4,000 coronavirus patients

NEWS

25 Mar, 2020

East London’s ExCel Centre (pictured above) will become a 4,000-bed field hospital in a bid to deal with the current coronavirus crisis.

The 100-acre site in the Docklands area, in the east of the capital, is currently being transformed by the Army, with military and civilian medics expected to help deal with an expected increase in patient numbers. The venue will have 500 operational beds available in the next few days, with more beds coming in the next few weeks.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the nation: ‘We will next week open a new hospital, temporary hospital, the NHS Nightingale hospital. With the help of the military and with NHS clinicians we will make sure we have the capacity we need so that everybody can get the support they need.’

Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England, added: ‘The NHS Nightingale is really an extraordinary feat. From a standing start, a day or two ago, a hospital will be built that will be able to take its first patients at the start of next week. That is a remarkable achievement, thanks to our staff, working with the military.’

Major Birmingham venue, the NEC, is also being considered as another regional field hospital. Military chiefs will also look to build more massive field hospitals across the nation in conference centres, football stadiums and cricket grounds. An MoD spokesperson said: ‘These will be very big facilities, what exactly they will used for will be for the NHS to decide. The first is in London, but we will create a service that will support the entire UK.

‘The first is being rolled out as we speak – it will be ready in a few days. Each region and nation will get similar to what London is getting. London is two weeks ahead of the rest of the country, and military planners are working on what happens week to week, so I would expect to see more across the country soon.’

The news came after the Prime Minister imposed a drastic lockdown across the UK in a bid to halt the spread of COVID-19 – forbidding Brits from going out of their homes except for four reasons:

  1. to pick up essentials
  2. to go to work if they can’t work at home
  3. to attend a medical appointment, or
  4. to care for a vulnerable person.

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