Harrogate will host Nightingale hospital with 500 beds, NHS bosses confirm

A new NHS Nightingale hospital in Harrogate will be able to care for up to 500 coronavirus patients, health bosses announced today as they confirmed the location of the site.

NHS England said new NHS Nightingale hospitals will be built at the Harrogate Convention Centre and in Bristol to provide hundreds of extra beds if local services need them during the peak of coronavirus.

The new sites will be in addition to those already in development in London, Manchester and Birmingham and will in total provide up to 1,500 beds if needed. The hospital in Harrogate will serve the wider Yorkshire and the Humber region.

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Government pledges to do 'everything we can' to help Yorkshire fight coronavirus
The Harrogate Conference Centre in Yorkshire, after an MP has said he is proud that a Harrogate conference centre appears to have been chosen as a temporary hospital in the fight against coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 1, 2020.

The first NHS Nightingale hospital, at London’s Excel centre, will be officially opened today after being set up in under a fortnight.

Further hospitals will open next in Birmingham and Manchester, offering up to 3,000 beds between them if they are needed as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The site at the University of the West of England, Bristol will be able to look after up to 1,000 patients while the one at the Harrogate Convention centre will be able to care for up to 500.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The nation is facing an unprecedented global emergency and we are taking exceptional measures to ensure the NHS has whatever it needs to tackle this virus.

“The NHS and the military have achieved something extraordinary in setting up NHS Nightingale, London in only a matter of days.

“It is testament to their hard work and dedication that an additional four hospitals will be rolled out across the nation.

“We must all play our part to assist our heroes on the health and social care frontline and I urge everyone to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Activity could be seen at the Harrogate centre this week, with security guards wearing masks standing by the gates as forklift trucks began to move goods in the car park.

While the NHS only actively confirmed its existence today, the move has been hailed by MP Andrew Jones who said the town is playing an “important role” in the national effort.

Responding to the news of the Harrogate hospital, Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis said: “The need for the new Nightingale Hospital shows the extraordinary challenge we face to overcome the Coronavirus.

"There are sensible and practical reasons why Harrogate has been selected, due to the speed at which the facility can be built and its location central to the whole of Yorkshire.

“In South Yorkshire, we have made extensive preparations, so people receive the very best possible care. I have been assured that all COVID-19 patients who need hospital care in our region will be treated at their local or a neighbouring hospital in South Yorkshire."

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