Coronavirus: Military Helping To Set Up New Temporary Hospital

The NHS Nightingale Hospital in London will comprise two wards, which can treat up to 4,000 people.

The Health Secretary has said a new temporary hospital will open in London next week with the help of the military.

The Nightingale Hospital will be based at the ExCel Centre and initially consist of 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen.

Those beds are to be available for use by next week, the Prime Minister's official spokesman has said.

The capacity will then continue to increase, up to 4,000, should it be required.

Downing Street has indicated the creation of other field hospitals is being considered.

The military has been supporting NHS England by providing infrastructure, logistics and project management advice.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised the military for its part in getting the hospital ready: "I applaud the NHS, engineers, and the military for their continued work on setting up the new NHS Nightingale Hospital so it is ready to open its doors next week – a remarkable feat in these challenging circumstances."

Military personnel learn to drive oxygen tankers amid coronavirus outbreak 240220 CREDIT BFBS
Military personnel being trained to drive oxygen tankers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

He added: "With the help of the military and with NHS clinicians we will make sure that we have the capacity that we need so that everyone can get the support that they need."

Hundreds of personnel have been made available to transport vital Personal Protective Equipment to medical staff.

Mr Hancock described it as "literally a military effort to get these millions of pieces of kit out to people".

“If people are working on the front line to look after us, it’s vital that we look after them," he said.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said he was "grateful" for the part the military has played in creating "a model of care never needed or seen before in this country".

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace stated that the Armed Forces stand ready to assist further in "any capacity needed".

He added: "The NHS and our Armed Forces are both world leaders in their fields, and this ambitious project is just one example of what can be achieved when they come together to help the nation."