The first Covid-19 patients have been discharged from the NHS Nightingale hospital in London.
Two men were applauded by staff as they were released from the pop-up facility at the ExCeL, east London, on Sunday afternoon.
They are the first people to be successfully discharged from care since the hospital welcomed its maiden patients on April 7.
Today we discharged our first patients from the Nightingale. Theyâve received fantastic care from a huge and dedicated team, and we wish them all the best for their continued recovery #OneTeam #ThankYouNHS #NHSheroes pic.twitter.com/blXGTchsVU— NHS Nightingale London (@NightingaleLDN) April 19, 2020
The facility was built in nine days, though the NHS has never confirmed how many patients have been treated there, despite stating its capacity to cope with thousands of admissions.
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “The Nightingale London may have been built in a matter of days in response to this unprecedented global health emergency but there are excellent facilities and, of course, the staff working there are every bit as skilled and dedicated as those caring for patients at other NHS hospitals.
“We have not yet had to make extensive use of the Nightingale London thanks to the hard work of NHS staff, who have freed up more than 30,000 existing hospital beds, and the public, who have played their part by staying at home and saving lives.
“It will count as a huge success for the whole country if we never need to use them but with further waves of coronavirus possible it is important that we have these extra facilities in place and treating patients.”
NHS England said one of the patients was Simon Chung, a father-of-one in his 50s, who has now been transferred to Northwick Park hospital in Harrow, north London, to continue his treatment.
Eamonn Sullivan, nursing director at NHS Nightingale London said: “This is wonderful news and testament to all the clinicians and support staff who have been working around the clock to care for our patients.
“Although these two patients being discharged today are now out of danger, their long road to recovery is a reminder of why everyone needs to do what they can to stay safe by following the Government’s advice.”
We've been blown away by the many messages of support and thanks from people around the UK including @stephenfry @davidwalliams @antanddec @nickjfrost @lovegwendoline @SimonCowell and @reallorraine recognising the dedication of our NHS staff https://t.co/tcMskXocyq— NHS Nightingale London (@NightingaleLDN) April 19, 2020
It came as celebrities including Olivia Colman, David Walliams, Claudia Winkleman and Simon Cowell were among the names from showbiz and sport to record a thank-you message for NHS staff.
The London Nightingale is one of a network of seven sites providing surge capacity across England.
Captain Tom Moore, the 99-year-old who has raised more than £26 million by completing lengths of his back garden, will be the guest of honour at the opening of the new Nightingale hospital in Harrogate on Tuesday.