Captain Tom to open NHS Nightingale Yorkshire
NHS fundraiser Captain Tom Moore will virtually open a new Nightingale hospital in North Yorkshire.
The 99-year-old veteran has been invited to do the honours for the site in Harrogate via video link alongside the Health Secretary, following his £27 million fundraising effort during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking earlier on Tuesday, Captain Tom said it was “one of those things you never think would ever happen.”
He told BBC Breakfast: “For me to be opening a new hospital in Harrogate is outstanding.
“All the people in that area have done so well to produce a new hospital in such a short time.”
More than 500 extra beds for Covid-19 patients have been installed at the Harrogate Convention Centre.
The extra capacity adds to other Nightingale hospitals being opened in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Steve Russell, chief executive of the new hospital, called the project an “extraordinary achievement” and a “vital insurance policy which we hope will not be needed”.
He also encouraged people to keep following social distancing rules, and added: “Our doctors, nurses, therapists and other health and social care staff across Yorkshire and the Humber are working incredibly hard to make sure people get the care they need during what is the single greatest challenge in the history of the NHS, but they can’t do it alone.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was “an honour” to open the hospital alongside Captain Tom and said he was “incredibly impressed by the sheer dedication, professionalism and altruism” of those involved in the project.
He added: “My heartfelt thanks also goes out to all the staff who will be working on the ground, providing extra capacity for patients if local hospitals need it.”