UK

Harrogate's NHS Nightingale Opens After Military Assistance

Royal Artillery among those who supported the construction of the facility, which opened today.

The NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and The Humber has officially opened in Harrogate.

Military teams were among those who worked around the clock to convert the Harrogate Convention Centre into a temporary hospital in just three weeks.

Soldiers from 4th Regiment Royal Artillery were part of the effort to get the site ready to be the country's next NHS Nightingale hospital.

The facility can take up to 500 patients, if required.

Appearing via video link, Yorkshire Veteran Captain Tom Moore, officially opened the site.

The former Army Captain who has raised millions of pounds for the NHS, called it "one of the best services in the world".

He added:

"All the doctors and nurses... do such a magnificent job under very difficult conditions, every day they are putting themselves in harm's way, night and morning, and they are doing it with a determination.

"I think we must say thank you very much to... all of you".

Troops have been transferring supplies, assisting with planning and helping NHS volunteers who will work at the hospital.

They arrived on site several weeks ago, before that they were on a UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus.

"Coming in [on] day one, we sort of realised the severity of what is going on at the minute with the crisis," Bombardier Daniel Hollingsworth said.

"Everyone's just really keen to assist," he added.

Watch: How soldiers helped get the hospital ready.

"It's been quite humbling," Major David Mortimer said about the experience supporting the NHS.

"In the military we quite often think that we know everything about planning, but actually they've got most of it wrapped up themselves.

"We've learned lots of new medical terms. I've also realised how complex a hospital was and how complex the build was.

"What you don't see here on the hospital floor is all the complex planning going into recruiting staff and training that staff, feeding and accommodating them.

"It has been really empowering to be part of trying to find a solution for this crisis in our home region." Major Mortimer added.

Military personnel inside NHS Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate CORONAVIRUS 160420 CREDIT BFBS.jpg

On the day Forces News visited the hospital, a single platoon was helping on site.

However, the regiment is based at Tockwith, just a few miles from the new hospital, meaning more people can help at short notice.

"Everyone has been pulling together to make it work. And it's been really nice to see, every day, donations from the local community," Major Mortimer said.

"It's clear that the public is pleased to have us along.

"I think it's a shame that because you're in the Army wearing a uniform you get noticed very easily, but there are a lot of other people helping out here from other agencies who don't get that same instant recognition," he added.

"There is a lot of negativity in the world, but it's just good to see all human beings just coming together," Bombardier Hollingsworth said.