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World 'A logistical and engineering marvel': Inside London's giant coronavirus hospital built in a fortnight

16:53  01 april  2020
16:53  01 april  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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It is a logistical and engineering marvel . It has gone from a blank sheet to fully operational hospital in less than a fortnight . And that has been made possible because of That was the starting point but now the NHS Nightingale is ready to treat its first COVID-19 patient, less than a fortnight night later.

The temporary hospital , in London ' s Docklands area, will have between 4,000 and 5,000 beds. Image copyright Dave Jenkins/MOD/Reuters. Different command elements gather inside the Excel Centre Three more temporary hospitals are to be built , in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow

From the outside there is not much to suggest that this east London riverside landmark is now the world's largest critical care facility. The new NHS logo only hints at what is inside.

a group of people in a room: The Nighingale is split into more than 80 wards containing 42 beds each © PA The Nighingale is split into more than 80 wards containing 42 beds each

Two weeks ago the first plans were drawn up to re-purpose this giant conference centre into a specialist COVID-19 field hospital called the NHS Nightingale.

a group of people in a room: More than 16,000 members of staff could be needed to run NHS Nightingale. Pic: MoD © Other More than 16,000 members of staff could be needed to run NHS Nightingale. Pic: MoD

The result is simply staggering.

As you make your way past the shuttered fast food stands, you notice the lines of masking tape on the floor, marking out designated areas. The Costa Coffee stand will be a pharmacy next week.

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Coronavirus pandemic. Image copyright Getty Images. He points out that the hospital in Beijing in 2003 was built in seven days so the construction team is probably attempting to beat that record. "The engineering work is what China is good at. They have records of building skyscrapers at speed.

Scotland' s largest exhibition centre could be in operation as a temporary hospital for more than 1,000 patients within a fortnight , Nicola Sturgeon has Although she said it may never be needed, she said the NHS must prepare for a surge in coronavirus cases and the SEC was the "best option" thanks to

There is a real buzz inside. Hundreds of people busy making the final preparations as the NHS Nightingale gets ready to take on its first patient.

a large empty room: The new 4,000-bed temporary facility at the ExCel convention centre in east London. Pic: MoD © Getty The new 4,000-bed temporary facility at the ExCel convention centre in east London. Pic: MoD

There are soldiers in full uniform, carpenters measuring and marking, stewards in fluorescent bibs marshalling volunteers through the crowded corridors.

Trucks unload ventilators and other life-saving medical machinery. They will soon be plumbed into a four-mile long oxygen supply network.

a man in a military uniform: Military personnel have helped build NHS Nightingale © PA Military personnel have helped build NHS Nightingale

Porters hurriedly wheel new beds towards the waiting wards.

a group of items on a desk: The facility will be used to treat COVID-19 patients © PA The facility will be used to treat COVID-19 patients

Only very sick COVID-19 patients will be brought here for treatment. But they will be patients who are transferred from other hospitals in London and the south.

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Britain’ s first coronavirus field hospital has been built in London and will treat up to 4,000 previously fit and healthy people struck down by Covid-19. London patients in need of intensive care but with the best chance of survival will be taken to the Nightingale hospital , which has been constructed within

The hospital is due to open this week, just as work has begun to transform the Welsh rugby stadium into a 500-bed hospital for coronavirus patients. Grim photos reveal refrigerated morgue inside new NHS Nightingale Hospital in London ' s ExCel Other hospitals being built at Glasgow SEC

Emergency cases will still be taken to local hospitals in the first instance.

The movement of patients, staff and resources will be coordinated by response managers in a central command unit in the capital.

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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.

a person riding on the back of a truck: Ventilators are stored and ready to be used © PA Ventilators are stored and ready to be used

"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."

a sign in front of a building: The NHS Nightingale hospital is based at London's Excel centre © Other The NHS Nightingale hospital is based at London's Excel centre

This means patients with other serious underlying health conditions, or those who require specialist treatment that is not COVID-19-related, will not be treated here. It is a single purpose hospital.

This weekend brides-to-be, their excited friends and families expected to make difficult decisions about wedding gowns and decoration at London's ExCel. But the National Wedding Show has been cancelled.

Instead the difficult decisions might be life and death ones taken by overworked front-line doctors.

A 21st century global pandemic requires an unprecedented response and the NHS Nightingale is just that.

It is a logistical and engineering marvel.

It has gone from a blank sheet to fully operational hospital in less than a fortnight. And that has been made possible because of military expertise.

The language used by the prime minister and his aides is martial. There's much talk of battle lines being drawn.

So it is appropriate the Ministry of Defence was asked to help deliver this project. Skills honed on the battlefields of Afghanistan have been deployed to the frontline in east London.

It is what Colonel Ashleigh Boreham does best.

"People keep talking about a battle," he said.

"It's an unseen enemy. It still is a battle. And it is a timeline that you are working to.

"It's always trying to get ahead of the picture, of the enemy. And in this case you are trying to get ahead of a virus.

"So the whole idea about building at scale and pace is to build a really fantastic facility that delivers safe care at scale and keeping ahead of the battle, ahead of the virus. That's what we do.

"The NHS have been absolutely fantastic, we're here supporting them in delivering an amazing facility, helping them to plan and think things through."

That expertise is telling. The ward I stood in is more like an aircraft hangar.

There are rows after rows of beds as far as I can see.

This corridor is one-kilometre long. And there are two wards like this.

When it is all up and running there will be capacity for 4,000 patients.

Colonel Boreham said: "We came together about nine days ago, sat around, with social distancing, a coffee table and looked at the designs of this facility and building

"We looked at how to re-purpose it into a design of a hospital system so it has a patient-flow system.

"You literally design on a piece of paper what it looks like with the engineers and the NHS.

"You then present that and you've got a plan. Once you've got that and a timeline you can start to finesse it.

"We can do that around the world and do the same thing here, literally bent over a table working it out. That's your start point."

That was the starting point but now the NHS Nightingale is ready to treat its first COVID-19 patient, less than a fortnight night later. It is the most incredible achievement.

But that is no cause for celebration. It will be though, when she treats her last.

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