News posted 17 April, 2020

New NHS Nightingale Hospital North West opens

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Less than three weeks since work first started, NHS Nightingale Hospital North West officially opens today in central Manchester, to provide care for hundreds of patients with Covid-19 from across the region.

Many organisations have come together to build a new hospital at the Manchester Central Convention Centre in just two weeks.  The hospital will provide the best possible care for patients with Covid-19 from across the region, and will help save lives.

Some patients have already been admitted as the hospital opens on a gradual and safe basis over the coming days and weeks.

Modelling in the North West predicts that the peak need for the highest-level critical care beds can be met by existing hospitals if the new hospital provides additional capacity for lower-level care.  The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West will provide both oxygen therapy and general medical care for COVID-19 patients who do not need critical care, and can look after up to 750 patients at full capacity. Patients will be transferred from the North West’s hospitals’ critical care units and wards directly to the new hospital.

The new temporary hospital is one of seven Nightingale hospitals to be set up around the country as part of a massive NHS effort to respond to the greatest global health emergency in more than a century.

This extra capacity is on top of the 33,000 additional beds freed up across NHS hospitals – the equivalent of building 50 district general hospitals – and the up to 8,000 beds put at the NHS’ disposal through an unprecedented deal with the independent sector.

Workforce recruitment began at the end of March, and is being co-ordinated by NHS Professionals.  Thousands of staff have expressed interest in working at the hospital, and many have already been recruited, inducted, trained and have started work.

Michael McCourt, Chief Executive of NHS Nightingale Hospital North West, said:

“Building this hospital in just a couple of weeks has taken the determination and boundless energy of people from many organisations who have come together to ensure our NHS has the necessary capacity during the pandemic, in what is an unprecedented response to an unprecedented crisis.  We have many people to thank for their efforts including the NHS, the army, the fire service, police, Network Rail, construction partners, Manchester Foundation Trust, Manchester City Council and of course the Manchester Central Convention Centre itself in which the hospital is based.  Thank you too to the many local businesses which have provided goods and services to help us get up and running.

“We now need to focus our efforts on providing the best possible care for our patients, and continue to support the hospitals in the North West to save lives.

There are enough of the highest-level critical care beds available in existing hospitals across the North West to meet the expected peak demand, with the Nightingale providing additional capacity for lower-level care.

The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West will provide both oxygen therapy and general medical care for COVID-19 patients who do not need critical care. An initial 36 beds will be available, but this could be expanded up to 750 if this is needed.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said:

“The opening of the Nightingale North West in the heart of Manchester is an amazing achievement and my sincere thanks go to all those in Greater Manchester and beyond who have worked night and day to make it a reality – from construction, logistics, cleaners, Fire, Police and Military staff to medical expertise. You truly are the best of Britain.

“If the rules allowed, I would be at the door to shake the hand of each and every member of staff for the care you are about to give and for the work you are doing.

“Everyone involved in this fantastic facility are history makers and you will always have our respect and admiration for the sacrifices you are making to help our country through this crisis.”

Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:

“It is exceptional to witness how quickly a brilliant team of NHS clinicians, military planners, construction workers and engineers have joined forces to build and equip a third NHS Nightingale, this time in Manchester, in less than three weeks.

“A huge thank you to all of the team, to everyone who has rallied round and made this hospital a reality, but also to all those who will be soon be running the hospital and making sure everyone in Manchester and the wider region receives the care they need.

“We all have a role to play in beating this disease and we must continue to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said:

“It’s with considerable pride that we have been able to play our part in transforming Manchester Central into a Nightingale Hospital for the North West. With the first patients receiving treatment this week we can reflect on what an incredible achievement this has been, working closely with our NHS and military colleagues.

“Of course we hope as few of the 750 beds will be needed as possible, but we should take reassurance that the resource is there to help ease the pressure on our hospitals as we tackle the Covid-19 outbreak. A heartfelt thank you must go to those who have made this transformation possible, and to those who will help care for people in Manchester in the coming weeks.”

Sarah Price, Interim Chief Officer, Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership, said:

“I’m enormously proud of the role Greater Manchester has in the new Nightingale North West Hospital. We’ve had such a wonderful response to get up and running so quickly and I’m grateful to each person who has played a part in this. I extend my thanks to all those health, care and support staff who will be working there to help treat Coronavirus patients.”

Dr Amanda Doyle, GP and Chief Clinical Officer for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System said:

“This is a really welcome facility for patients from across the North West and will help to support our ability in Lancashire and South Cumbria to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. This facility is an example of the overwhelming response from health and care staff, multi-agency teams and those in our communities who are going above and beyond every day to support our patients and local people during these unprecedented circumstances.”

Alan Yates, Chair of the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership said:

“The creation of NHS Nightingale Hospital North West is very welcome and as well as being an asset for the whole of the North West will be an important component of the work we are doing in Cheshire and Merseyside. We are working closely with partners in health and social care across the Northwest to ensure the people of Cheshire and Merseyside get the best possible support we can offer during the Covid-19 pandemic”.

The official opening provides an opportunity to thank all those involved who have pulled out all the stops to ensure that capacity still exists to care for patients with coronavirus.