Thousands of extra beds planned in stadiums, leisure centres and hotels

The new NHS Nightingale Hospital in east London is just part of a nationwide push to increase capacity on a huge scale.

Outside London, work is under way at scores of locations – from stadiums to hotel complexes – to provide what already adds up to potentially more than 10,000 extra beds.

Some regions have concentrated on large-scale facilities which will mirror the ExCeL centre development in the capital – most notably in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

But other strategies have included developing a network of smaller field hospitals, like the wave of facilities being established across Wales.

Harrogate Conference Centre
The Harrogate Conference Centre is one of several sites being turned into a temporary hospital (Danny Lawson/PA)

Additional temporary capacity being developed outside London now includes:

– Birmingham: An NHS Nightingale hospital at the National Exhibition Centre will add an initial 500 beds, with the potential to grow to 2,000 if necessary.

– Manchester: An NHS Nightingale hospital at the Central Convention Complex will add 500 beds, with the capacity to expand to 1,000.

– Glasgow: The NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital is being built at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC). The hospital will provide an initial 300 beds with scope to increase the number of patients to 1,000 if necessary. It is believed the facility will be ready to open in the next two weeks and is named after a First World War nurse from Glasgow who lost her life in Serbia.

– Elsewhere in Scotland: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government wants to quadruple ICU beds to more than 700 but it looks as if much of this will happen within existing hospital facilities.

– Harrogate: The town’s Convention Centre is being converted to take up to 500 patients from Yorkshire and the north-east of England.

– Bristol: A site is being prepared at the University of the West of England which will take up to 1,000 patients.

Coronavirushospital
Large-scale sites are likely to follow the model at the Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre in London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

– Cardiff: Two thousand beds are being made available at the Principality Stadium.

– Elsewhere across Wales: More than 4,000 other beds will be created by field hospitals erected in leisure centres, schools and stadiums. These include more than 350 at the Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli and a similar number at Venue Cymru in Llandudno. A former factory and a film studios are being converted in Swansea which will add 850 more beds in the next four weeks.

– Other field hospitals announced in Wales include at the Bluestone National Park Resort; Brailsford Sport and Leisure Centre, Bangor; Cardigan Leisure Centre; Carmarthen Leisure Centre; Council Office, Abercynon; Deeside Leisure Centre; Grange University Hospital, Cwmbran ; Llandarcy Academy of Sport, Neath; Port Talbot; Penweddig School, Aberystwyth; Plascrug Leisure Centre, Ceredigion; Selwyn Samuel Centre, Llanelli; Ty Trevithick, Abercynon; and the Vale Resort, Vale of Glamorgan.

– Belfast: The City Hospital is being set up as Northern Ireland’s Nightingale hospital and will include 230 intensive care beds.

– Cumbria: Local plans are under way to provide an extra 500 beds at leisure centres throughout the county. Equipment is being installed at Whitehaven Sports Centre, The Sands Centre in Carlisle, Penrith Leisure Centre and Kendal Leisure Centre, as well as at Furness Academy in Barrow.

Coronavirus hospital
The Belfast City Hospital tower block has been set aside for 230 coronavirus patients (Paul Faith/PA)

– Wigan: An emergency ward is being built on a hospital car park to provide 52 more beds in the north-west.

Drive-through coronavirus assessment lanes in Whitstable are among new facilities being set up across Kent. So-called “hot sites” in the county will allow patients with Covid-19 symptoms to speak to trained clinicians while keeping other premises virus free.

Drive-through testing is being established at other locations outside London, including at Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham, and at the Boots headquarters in Nottingham.

These will add to the facility already running at Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey.

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