latest health care news

30.03.20

NHS to open two more new hospitals to support coronavirus efforts

Two new additional NHS Nightingale hospitals will open in Birmingham and Manchester to provide care to thousands more coronavirus patients, according to NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens.

The two new sites, based at Birmingham’s NEC and Manchester’s Central Convention Complex, will provide support for patients from across the Midlands and North West of England.

Birmingham’s NEC site will start with up to 500 beds, equipped with the capacity to increase the number of beds up to 2,000 if necessary. Manchester, meanwhile, will also provide an initial 500 beds, with a capacity to increase it up to 1,000 beds.

The confirmation from Sir Stevens came as the NHS announced it had freed up 33,000 beds across existing NHS hospitals for coronavirus patients – the equivalent of 50 new hospitals around the country.

Sir Stevens said: “It will take a monumental effort from everyone across the country to beat this epidemic, but the NHS is mobilising like never before to deliver care in new ways, to thousands more people – starting with the opening of the first NHS Nightingale in London later next week.

“These are extraordinary steps the NHS is taking, and clinicians, managers and military planners are working day and night to create, equip and staff these hospitals from scratch and prepare for the surge that is likely to be coming.

“While we continue to pull out all the stops, we do need the public to play their part. Every single person in this country can make a difference by following the medical advice to the letter – stay at home, wash your hands, which will help stop the virus letting rip and will therefore save lives.”

Staff for the new hospitals will predominantly be drawn from NHS doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals from across the country, with a number of military medics on standby to assist with caring for patients too.

The new Nightingale hospitals represent part of a vast NHS mobilisation plan to help deal with the growing number of coronavirus patients. More than 18,000 doctors, nurses and other former NHS staff have already volunteered to return to fight the virus.

Staff members seeking to return to the healthcare service have been put in touch with their local NHS bodies, where relevant roles based on their clinical skills and work histories are being found for them.

The NHS continues to keep the opportunity open to rejoin the healthcare service for all former NHS staff who have left in the last three years – even if they have not yet been contacted by their medical regulator. All former, returning staff are given a full induction and online training to help assist them in hitting the ground running.

Alongside the 18,000 returning healthcare professionals, the government and NHS have also combined to recruit a vast army of volunteers from the general public, already more than 725,000 people, who will assist in delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to appointments, bringing patients home from hospital and making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home.

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