Coronavirus: Sadiq Khan tells LBC all about the "breathtaking" NHS Nightingale

31 March 2020, 15:29

By Fiona Jones

The London Mayor takes LBC through the new NHS Nightingale hospital and how it will work.

NHS Nightingale is a temporary hospital set up in the ExCel centre which will house 4000 patients during the pandemic - it is expected to open its doors for patients this week.

The London Mayor told LBC that he'd been on a virtual tour where he was talked through the new facilities.

"It is breathtaking in its sheer scale," he said, "already there are 500 ventilated beds ready. The staff have now been trained and inducted...they will be ready to go in the next couple of days."

The staff are people across the NHS family, from nurses to doctors, in London who have applied to work in the NHS Nightingale.

The Mayor reiterated that the hospital is not a walk-in hospital: "Please please please do not turn up there and think you're going to be treated.

"The NHS across London will refer patients here and they'll probably be patients who are already intubated and ventilated at another hospital and they are taken here.

"Think of this as a hospital to free up pressure on the NHS in London. It's both amazing in the literal sense of the word but also frankly speaking a bit scary, because of the scale of it. It's about eight district general hospitals in one."

As the hospital is so huge, they will phase in different parts of the hospital as and when it is needed.

The way NHS Nightingale will work is by using the same principles and workflow as a normal intensive care unit, which is one expert nurse to six beds, with each nurse on a 12 and a half hour shift.

"What they've done is made sure the teams they've got are the same teams that will work with each other everyday," the Mayor said, "and they'll be in charge of the same six beds in the same zones. The idea being you the patient won't really notice any difference to your team at the Nightingale.

"Because of the level of expertise here, the quality of care here could be even better and should be even better," he said.

He has also been assured the teams at Nightingale have adequate personal protective equipment and so with everything in place, over the next couple of days "they'll press go."