Nightingale hospital being built at Harrogate Convention Centre

A security guard outside the Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate. Photo: Glen Minikin.

Harrogate Convention Centre is being transformed into a temporary hospital as the region braces for a surge in coronavirus patients.

Work is underway at the new NHS Nightingale site which is rapidly creating hundreds of beds to cope with patients affected by Covid-19.

The operation has seen a wave of military personnel and private construction companies drafted into the town as conversion works at the almost 150,000 sq ft venue pushes ahead, ready for doctors, nursers and volunteers to move in.

The Convention Centre – usually used for exhibitions, seminars and arts events – was the fourth facility in England to be chosen as an emergency hospital, with sites in harder-hit areas of the country almost ready to take their first patients.

The ExCeL conference centre in East London was the first venue to be announced and will have between 4,000 and 5,000 beds when it opens later this week.

Photo: Glen Minikin.
Photo: Glen Minikin.
Photo: Glen Minikin.
Photo: Glen Minikin.

Thousands of EasyJet and Virgin airline staff in the area are being offered work at the hospital. The NHS said the workers would be changing beds, performing other non-clinical tasks and helping doctors and nurses working.

It will have capacity for 5,000 beds and will be ready in mid-April.

When it was announced, Sir Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS in England, told the daily news briefing on Friday, March 27 “the NHS is making an extraordinary effort.”

The nearby Birmingham Airport will become a mortuary in order to cope with the increased demand.  The airport is providing a hangar and land on the cargo terminal, across the landing strip from the passenger terminal.

The Manchester Central Complex was the third facility to be announced as a makeshift hospital.

Sir Simon Stevens confirmed that the venue would provide up to 500 beds but could expand further to 1,000 for patients across the North West.

It is also expected that the facility will cater for less life-threatening cases of the virus, with more severe cases to be treated in existing hospital facilities.

NHS England said other sites across country also under consideration.

1 Comment

  1. What happened to the Duchess of Kent military hospital at Catterick Garrison built in 1976? Was it demolished, mothballed or did it become derelict?

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