The home of the world’s biggest annual gaming trade show and exhibition, ExCeL London, is set to become England’s largest hospital facility after the National Health Service (NHS) announced the venue would be converted into a makeshift center for COVID-19 patients.
The NHS Nightingale Hospital will be ready for use from this week, initially providing up to 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen but with capacity for 4,000 beds if and when required. Nurses, doctors and other staff from across the health service, primarily NHS staff, as well as military medics will tend to patients.
“Under these exceptionally challenging circumstances the NHS is taking extraordinary steps to fight coronavirus,” said NHS CEO Sir Simon Stevens.
“That’s why NHS clinicians and managers are working with military planners and engineers to create, equip, staff and open the NHS Nightingale London, and we’re very grateful for their support.
“This will be a model of care never needed or seen before in this country, but our specialist doctors are in touch with their counterparts internationally who are also opening facilities like this in response to the shared global pandemic.”
NHS Nightingale will be more than twice the size of England’s current largest hospital, St George’s in Tooting, which has around 1,300 beds.
“We are proud to be able to accommodate the increasing demand for hospital beds and will work with the NHS to facilitate this request,” said ExCeL London CEO Jeremy Rees. “The team at ExCeL London will ensure that we work with the Government and relevant authorities to support their efforts in seeing the British people and the UK through this unprecedented crisis.”