The new hospital will soon open to provide support for thousands of patients with coronavirus, the NHS say.

The NHS Nightingale Hospital is based at the ExCeL conference centre in East London and will initially provide up to 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen. The capacity will then continue to increase, potentially up to several thousand beds, should it be required.

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said:

“Under these exceptionally challenging circumstances the NHS is taking extraordinary steps to fight coronavirus. That’s why NHS clinicians and managers are working with military planners and engineers to create, equip, staff and open the NHS Nightingale London, and we’re very grateful for their support. This will be a model of care never needed or seen before in this country, but our specialist doctors are in touch with their counterparts internationally who are also opening facilities like this, in response to the shared global pandemic. Despite these amazing measures, the fact is no health service in the world will cope if coronavirus lets rip, which is why NHS staff are pleading with the public to follow medical advice – stay at home, stop the virus spreading, and save lives.”

Military personnel have been involved in the planning stages and continue to support NHS England by providing infrastructure, logistics and project management advice.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“Our military planners and engineers are working hand in hand with the NHS to support their development of the NHS Nightingale Hospital. The Armed Forces have already been distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet the increased demand and we stand ready to assist further in any capacity needed. The NHS and our Armed Forces are both world leaders in their fields, and this ambitious project is just one example of what can be achieved when they come together to help the nation.”

The ExCeL London Centre is being refitted to take hundreds of beds with oxygen and ventilators.

The NHS Nightingale Hospital will draw nurses, doctors and other staff from across the health service, as well as a number of military medics will also tend to patients.

The majority will be NHS staff.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Daniele Mandelli

QGE’s involved in the build? I guess from 36 RE.

Will the regular Field Hospitals provide support for these Nightingale hospitals or will the regular RAMC Regiments?


This is clearly a sensible move. Other centres are being set up elsewhere in the country. Possibly, I suggest, permanent emergency facilities should be set up in case we get another endemic. Usually they would be mothballed. I would hope such places would not go over the top and be as basic as common sense would apply. It is possible, although one hopes not needed, that such emergency places could be used if a terrorist event happens or a major traffic accident. But I would also suggest that in general hospital facilities should be re thought in the long term… Read more »

John Walker

Reading any government after action report on this is going to be interesting. I get protecting 100% for a global pandemic is practically impossible but this was investigated a couple years ago and looks like no practical action taken. One would of thought having ready to go plans for this conversion would be in place ready to be activated and a national stockpile of immediate medical consumables i.e. PPE would of been a very small investment. Ventilators would be tricky but I think there were enough dots in previous virus outbreaks to at least have a plan in place if… Read more »


Most countries have done the same as us. And have the same problems. I advise people to look at problems in French care homes. And I believe that deaths in care homes are not being counted by the French. I think we need to stop saying that everyone is better than us and that our mistakes are worse than everyone else. We ALL are in a mess! The issue with this virus is it’s relatively easy to catch but not too dangerous for most. But the vulnerable and those with low immune system are in great danger. A different virus,… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

“Exercise Cygnus” was an NHS exercise a few years ago, which I guess you refer to.

They knew full well then the impact on ICU / ventilators, shortage of PPE, and so on.


This is why we need hospital ships x 2. When there is a crisis you have a moveable hospital that can be deployed anywhere. With supplies and tenets etc it can be a multiplier. In times of peace in can be a goodwill ambassador in other countries that need it. Can help train up medics etc. In time of war and crisis can be used as needed. Put on it the “best of British” equipment to act as a showcase of industry/tech. Stimulus for the economy whist building it and use some of the foreign aid budget to fund them… Read more »


I’ve been saying that, writing letters to my MP etc for years. Nothing happens. The US have deployed two 1000 bed hospital ships fully equipped and manned, thats about 50% of the capacity of South Wales. If the UK had 2-3 of these the NHS would be very happy. I also agree that in peace they would be useful in the soft power projection concept and that they could be paid for through the international aid budget. So a win win.


It’s an amazing effort and shows just how resourceful people can be when facing a grim crisis. A grim crisis could be facing the UK forces once this virus is gone? So much money has gone to key industry, small business, and their employees that a post virus economy will have to find billions in savings. The enormity of the debt will call for sweeping cuts across the spectrum of government spending, one that the MOD can not be signaled out as being exempt. Just what will face the axe will be at the centre of conjecture, however the new… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

This is paid for by extra borrowing I believe?

So what need for cuts? If anything after austerity was shown to be such a total disaster spending needs increasing on all departments.

As for the doom and gloom on defence lets worry about that IF it happens maybe? This situation is bad enough for the world and the nation without further depressing everyone that defence is doomed, which it most certainly is not.

The return of nation on nation rivalries ( which never actually left ) will see to that.


I am afraid that this period is going to put us right back to where the country was after the banking crisis if not worse, cuts will for sure come. All this money being made available to pay people won’t grow on trees.


We will all have to be a bit less poorer. But maybe some goods will be cheaper. But overtime economies will grow.

Mark B

I believe the Bank of England “Printed” more money. £200 Billion if my memory serves me right. The Government will borrow that from the Bank of England. It dilutes the value of a £1 but all other countries are doing the same. Also many companies will make the same sales but in fewer months. Many industries will go into overdrive after this is over. Mistakes here will focus the minds of politicians on preparing for other potential disasters – war must be near the top of the list. Are we ready?


diluting the value of the pound just brings more problems down the road when the government needs to borrow next. There is no free money, either taxes will have to skyrocket for 3-4months of massive payouts or cuts will have to be made to the public purse, i think we all know which option will fly.

Mark B

Hi Steve. An interesting point of view. Both of your options might push the economy into recession. Personally I would anticipate a plan to boost the economy (similar to post WW2) with money being spent on essential services, infrastructure etc. There will I think be a natural inclination for people to spend. Most G7 counties will follow suit. We will see.


I think you need to consider what happened to the economy in the 30 years after ww2, before thinking we should follow that. Other countries recovered much faster than the UK, although i admit we were stitched over a fair bit by the US in their desire to replace us as a world power.

Mark B

There is much in what you say Steve. Not to have provided work for returning soldiers and rebuilding bombed homes would have been unthinkable. Today the economy must not falter. We must all get back to work.


As sure as summer is followed by winter, the treasury will be out for blood once this current situation is dealt with. Not to expect cuts is wishful thinking, the MOD is not first or second inline for the chancellor’s handouts, and we all know that defence does not win votes. The level of fiscal repair will depend on how long this crisis lasts, but I doubt we will see the ‘sunlit uplands’ this side of June? As for other nations defence budgets being relevant to how the UK will act is nonsense.

Daniele Mandelli

I would also suggest it is all relative. Why should a grim crisis face UK forces and not EVERY other nations armed forces? Most countries are in this mess, not just the UK, so there is no excuse for cuts if others do not do likewise.

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken

Absolutely right man, the entire world is in the same boat. The only difference is any mess we are in as the 5th richest nation on earth will be significantly less messy than the 170 odd countries behind us on the wealth scale. We will just have to wait and see what effect if any this has on HM forces and our country as a whole.


There are no more savings to be made from government cuts, they have cut to the bone as tight as they dare go over the last 10 years. Most of the money is coming via debt the rest will need to be met through tax increases. I can see a raid on pensions and property taxes.

Steve R

To be honest I think it’ll come down to tax increases rather than cuts.

Austerity didn’t work and I can’t see any government trying it again so recently after Osborne’s failed austerity experiment.

Might be a swift end to any planned significant defence increases, however.


I fear tax rises will be a no go as it would hit all the people that are suffering right now with pay cuts etc. Cuts is the only way they can achieve kicking the can down the road.