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The NHS Nightingale – how big is it, who will it treat and why the name?

The new NHS Nightingale hospital, set up to treat the rising numbers of Covid-19 victims, opens on Friday. Here’s what we know about the new facility.

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Work continues at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital – the NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus (Stefan Rousseau/PA).

Work continues at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital – the NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus (Stefan Rousseau/PA).

Work continues at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital – the NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus (Stefan Rousseau/PA).

The new NHS Nightingale hospital, which has been set up to treat the rising numbers of Covid-19 victims, is set to open on Friday.

Here’s what we know about the new temporary facility.

– Why ‘Nightingale’?

The NHS Nightingale hospital is named after nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, who helped soldiers during the Crimean War – fought from 1853-56.

The hospital’s wards will also be named after influential British nurses such as Seacole, Saunders and Kinnair.

– Where is it being built?

The new facility is being set up by converting the 100-acre site of the ExCel convention centre in Newham, east London

The location was only announced to the public on March 24, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday that similar facilities would soon be set up in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

– By whom?

A combination of NHS staff, contractors and up to 200 military personnel have taken part in construction – which was completed in just nine days.

Some workers are reported to have taken on 15-hour shifts to get the work done as quickly as possible.

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A soldier outside the ExCel centre in London which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital to help tackle coronavirus (Stefan Rousseau/PA).

A soldier outside the ExCel centre in London which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital to help tackle coronavirus (Stefan Rousseau/PA).

PA

A soldier outside the ExCel centre in London which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital to help tackle coronavirus (Stefan Rousseau/PA).

– Who will it treat?

The facility will be used to treat Covid-19 patients who have been transferred from other intensive care units (ICU) across London.

Those who are admitted to the hospital will already be on a ventilator and will remain at the Nightingale until their course of ventilation is finished, the hospital’s chief medical director has said.

Coronavirus patients suffering from other serious conditions – such as cardiac issues – will be cared for at other specialist centres.

– How many patients can it treat?

NHS Nightingale will have a 4,000 bed capacity and will be split into more than 80 wards containing 42 beds each.

Mr Hancock said that it will be the “equivalent of 10 district general hospitals.”

– What about staff?

Up to 16,000 staff may be required to run the facility at full capacity.

Hundreds of volunteers from the St John Ambulance charity with differing levels of clinical training have volunteered to help out with operations, with around 100 expected to work every shift.

– How will they be looked after?

Staff working at the Nightingale will be able to sleep at nearby hotels once they finish their shift, the hospital’s director of nursing, Eamonn Sullivan, said – though they can also choose to go home.

– Is there enough equipment and resources?

The Nightingale will use all “new kit”, but concerns have been raised that staffing the hospital with bank staff might lead to shortfalls in other parts of the health service.

Bosses at the hospital are reportedly worried about the number of ambulances and trained crew needed to bring cases to the site.

Draft clinical models seen estimate 60 ambulances will be needed to facilitate emergency transfers.

PA