Inside the NHS Nightingale coronavirus hospital in Manchester

8 April 2020, 05:25

Nightingale North West is being built inside Manchester's exhibition hall
Nightingale North West is being built inside Manchester's exhibition hall. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Manchester's wing of the NHS Nightingale emergency hospitals will receive its first patients within the next week.

The hospital is being built in Manchester's exhibition hall, known to many as the G-MEX to help deal with coronavirus patients.

The site will open as a hospital dedicated to the care of coronavirus patients.


Currently, its transformation is still underway, with NHS leaders, the armed forces and contractors working around the clock to complete the development, and it is set to be up and running by next week.

Once operational, it'll start receiving up to 750 patients from across the region.

It is reserved for those not needing intensive care, but still requiring treatment for coronavirus, so the majority of patients will be those in process of being "stepped-down" from ICU at neighbouring hospitals.

John Fowler, Contracts Manager for NHS Nightingale Manchester, told LBC News: "Everything will be up and tested by Sunday night.

"We started designing this on Tuesday last week, and we started building on Tuesday afternoon. The flooring started coming in on Tuesday night, and we have been working 24 hours round the clock to get the facility where it needs to be for the NHS.

Giving a tour of the hospital, he told LBC News: "Because we only started last week the procurement and the design had to be in place pretty much as we were installing.

"So as we've been putting vinyl down, we been designing the individual bed bays and trying to get that material on site as soon as we possibly can."

He continued: "With the partitions, if you laid the largest building in the world on its back it would dwarf it four times over, that's the amount of partitions we've put in.

"There's enough flooring to cover Wembley stadium twice over. The guys have done a massive job, this is special."

Ian Williamson, Project lead for Nightingale North West, told LBC News that the build has been "an incredible transformation".

"An iconic building has been transformed over the last 12 days or so," he said.

"That's thanks to the incredible teamwork of the NHS, the British army, construction workers, other contractors and the venue here itself."

He continued: "In the main hall we will have up to 650 beds, which is astonishing for the size of the hall. We have the capacity to have up to another 100 beds in a side room as well.

"The patients that we are expecting will be patients who are Covid positive who have been in critical care and can be transferred here on their way home.

"New Covid patients will be able to get access to the critical care beds as we will have helped people move on and move out.

"They'll still need nursing care and many will still need oxygen therapy, so they're not 100 per cent stable, but this will free up critical care beds."

Up to 750 beds will be available
Up to 750 beds will be available. Picture: PA

The hospital will be staffed by consultants, junior doctors, nurses, healthcare support workers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, occupational therapists and social workers, as well as non-clinical support workers and administrators.

Already, hundreds of people have already signed up to volunteer when it opens next week.

Bosses say they still want to hear from anyone else who can help, and emphasised that volunteers don't necessarily need a medical background to get involved.

It comes on the day the first patients were admitted to the first NHS Nightingale hospital, in London.

An NHS Nightingale London spokeswoman said: "Our first patients have now been admitted to the NHS Nightingale London, as planned.

"There is also treatment capacity available in other hospitals across London to complement the care being provided at the London Nightingale."