It has taken just two weeks for NHS Nightingale, the new COVID-19 field hospital, to be built in east London
Just two weeks ago the government started planning to re-purpose this giant conference centre, on the east London riverside, into a specialist COVID-19 field hospital, aptly named the NHS Nightingale.
Despite the exterior of the building, that doesn’t look like much more than the conference centre it once was, it has now been transformed into the world’s largest critical care facility.
The new emergency hospital, the first to be available in the UK, is currently set up with shuttered fast food stands, lines of masking tape on the floor, mark out the designated areas of the facility. What is currently a Costa Coffee stand, will be repurposed as a pharmacy next week.
Trucks loads of ventilators are being brought into the new hospital, along with other life-saving medical machinery. Workers will soon be installed four-mile long oxygen supply network throughout the facility.
Soldiers in full uniform are present, alongside all those other workers preparing the Hospital before it starts receiving its first patients.
Dr Alan McGlennan, medical director for Nightingale Hospital, explained how it would work.
“We’re an NHS facility within London so we take our resources from London,” he said.
“We want to re-coordinate from the centre so they know the best place to deploy staff and resources.”
“We are producing a facility that makes best use of that so when we get to capacity and even over, it will be quite clear where to put those resources.”
“And at that point we will be ready to receive the equipment, the staff and then the patients, at scale and at pace, at the same standard occurring in the NHS.”
Patients with other serious underlying health conditions and require specialist treatment, that is unrelated to COVID-19, will not be treated here at Nightingale, as it is a single purpose, emergency-use, hospital.
Nightingale has essentially gone from and empty warehouse to fully functional emergency hospital in less than a two weeks. And that has been made possible because of the use of military expertise, as the armed forces have played a key part in the planning of the facility.