Coronavirus: First patients admitted to London’s NHS Nightingale hospital

Vincent Wood
Paramedics preparing an ambulance at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary NHS Nightingale hospital during the coronavirus outbreak: PA

The first patients have been admitted to the NHS Nightingale hospital in London after the Excel exhibition centre was transformed into a unit capable of treating 4,000 critically ill people in the space of nine days.

The temporary hospital was put together in less than a fortnight to provide further healthcare capacity to the capital, which has remained the epicentre of the UK coronavirus outbreak.

Now it has already begun to treat patients, with the first being transferred into the site on Tuesday.

Despite the overflow facility being put to use, a spokesperson confirmed there was still space available in hospitals across the city.

An NHS Nightingale London spokeswoman said: “Our first patients have now been admitted to the NHS Nightingale London, as planned.

“There is also treatment capacity available in other hospitals across London to complement the care being provided at the London Nightingale.”

The facility was officially opened by Prince Charles via video link on Friday, and will provide up to 4,000 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen and be used for those who require further intensive care treatment for Covid-19.

Around 25,000 doctors, nurses and support staff will work at the location once it is fully operational.

It comes after the site practised a patient transfer alongside officials from the Royal Air Force and the London Ambulance service.

The Nightingale hospital in east London is the first of a number of temporary sites being set up in events spaces across the country left vacant by social distancing measures.

Meanwhile temporary morgues have also reportedly been set up in the east of the capital, with tents erected in Newham and Waltham Forest.

Additional reporting by PA.

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