Two more new NHS Nightingale Hospitals are to open in the UK

Mar 28, 2020 8:05 PM ET

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has announced that Birmingham and Manchester are to provide care to thousands more patients with coronavirus.

The hospital based at the NEC in Birmingham will start with up to 500 beds equipped with the capacity to increase beds up to 2,000 if needed.

The hospital based at the Manchester Central Complex will provide up to 500 beds but could expand further to 1,000 beds for coronavirus patients across the North West of England.

The new hospitals will provide support for patients from across the Midlands and the North West.

Confirmation that the two new NHS Nightingale sites are going ahead came as Sir Simon revealed that the NHS has freed up 33,000 beds across existing NHS hospitals for coronavirus patients, the equivalent of 50 new hospitals.

The NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens said,“It will take a monumental effort from everyone across the country to beat this epidemic, but the NHS is mobilising like never before to deliver care in new ways, to thousands more people – starting with the opening of the first NHS Nightingale in London later next week.

“These are extraordinary steps the NHS is taking, and clinicians, managers and military planners are working day and night to create, equip and staff these hospitals from scratch and prepare for the surge that is likely to be coming.

“While we continue to pull out all the stops, we do need the public to play their part. Every single person in this country can make a difference by following the medical advice to the letter – stay at home, wash your hands, which will help stop the virus letting rip and will therefore save lives.”

The new hospitals will draw from predominantly NHS doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals from across the country. A number of military medics will be on hand to care for patients too.

The new hospitals are part of a huge NHS mobilisation plan to deal with the growing number of coronavirus patients.

More than 18,000 doctors, nurses and other former NHS staff have already volunteered to return to fight the virus.

Professor Neil Ferguson told the Science and Technology Committee that the UK peak from coronavirus will happen in two or three weeks time as the UK is on lockdown.

The lockdown enforced by the government could prevent the outbreak from becoming a growing epidemic, to one that will decline.

He told the committee that one in ten Londoners “at the outside” could already be infected, he said the level of infection will vary around the UK.

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