Health bosses are identifying staff to be rapidly deployed at the new 4,000-bed field hospital being set to manage a surge in seriously ill coronavirus patients, it has been reported.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced earlier this week that the ExCeL site in London will become a temporary hospital equipped with two wards of 2,000 beds to cope with any patient surge in the capital.
The Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported on Wednesday that leaders were “urgently” identifying staff who could be redeployed quickly at the new Nightingale Hospital.
An email from a London trust chief executive to staff, seen by the HSJ, said a response was needed within hours and accommodation could be provided if necessary.
It added: “Along with other NHS trusts, we have been asked to identify a range of our people to help staff the new Nightingale Hospital at the ExCeL centre in east London.
“This is a key element of the NHS national response to coronavirus and will provide the first major wave of ‘surge’ capacity.
“The urgency in identifying staff is to allow time for training to take place before opening to patients.
“We have asked divisional clinical leads to identify and approach staff who may be able to be redeployed quickly to the ExCeL and, in the interests of time, we are also asking staff directly to come forward to be considered for redeployment.
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) March 26, 2020
“Accommodation will be provided if required.”
The email said the new hospital should take some pressure off London hospitals by absorbing demand, giving the trusts more time to increase their own capacity.
“I know that many of you are already going above and beyond in our own response to coronavirus, for which I am extremely grateful,” it added.
“This approach is likely to mean we have a bit more time to get all of our own additional capacity up and running.”
The required staff range from consultants, GPs, critical care nurses and pharmacists to non-clinical staff, such as porters and administrators, it added.