Army Efforts To Build Manchester's Nightingale Hospital 'Astonishing'

British Army soldiers helping to build a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients in Manchester have been described as "astonishing" by the hospital's project leader.

Personnel are working 24 hours a day to ensure NHS Nightingale North West is ready by Sunday. 

"We have had different branches of the Army, the engineer colleagues have helped to get this place organised and built from the plans that we first looked at 10 days ago," said Ian Williamson, the project lead for NHS Nightingale North West.

"I’m not expecting there will be lots of Army medics in here, we've still got Army medical advice on site for the next four weeks which will be invaluable, but mostly it’ll be staffed through NHS."

"The Army have been astonishing."

The facility at the Manchester Central Complex will be able to treat up to 750 COVID-19 patients.

It has miles of oxygen pipes and power cables running through it, and has enough flooring to cover Wembley stadium twice.

Major Matthew Fry, Commander of the Military Assessment Team, told Forces News: "When you work at pace there is a lot of uncertainty and we've been able to help find clarity.

"To see the amount of effort that the NHS teams and the UK construction industry have put forward, it is very humbling.  

"They’re working equally as hard as we would on operation and I’d absolutely take my hat off to them."

Across the north of England, military personnel are helping to build more temporary hospitals. 

While in Wales, military liaison officers are preparing to turn a holiday resort into another temporary hospital.

Alan Lawrie, part of the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, told Forces News that the military are providing vital insight.

"They [the military] have been providing lots and lots of really important advice and guidance," he said.

It comes as the first NHS Nightingale Hospital, based at the ExCel Centre in east London, has begun treating its first patients.

The 4,000-bed facility was built in just 9 days with the help of around 200 military personnel. 

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