Less than three weeks since work started, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol opens today. Based at University of West of England Frenchay campus, it will provide up to 300 intensive care beds for coronavirus patients, if local services need them.
The new facility is one of seven Nightingale hospitals to be set up around the country as part of a massive NHS effort to respond to the greatest global health emergency in more than a century.
This extra capacity is on top of the 33,000 additional beds freed up across NHS hospitals – the equivalent of building 50 district general hospitals – and the up to 8,000 beds put at the NHS’s disposal through an unprecedented deal with the independent sector.
These measures combined mean that capacity still exists in hospitals to care for patients with coronavirus, as well as other patients who may need urgent and emergency treatment, with the Nightingales standing ready if local services need them beyond that.
The NHS has invited HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, to open the new hospital. He will joined be Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock and Chief Executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens. The opening will be conducted by video link in line with social distancing policies.
Michele Romaine, Chair, North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “Our new NHS Nightingale Hospital shows what can be achieved when a group of passionate and talented people come together with a shared purpose – to provide hope and save lives.
“Our new hospital belongs to the Severn region and provides that reassurance that additional intensive care beds will be available for patients with coronavirus if they are needed. Across the Severn region our nurses, doctors, therapists and other NHS staff are working incredibly hard, together with our partners in social care, emergency services and other key workers to make sure people get the care they need when they need it.
“But we can’t do it alone. We all have a part to play in keeping everyone safe. Staying at home is saving lives.”
Marie-Noelle Orzel, Chief Officer, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol, said: “Like the others across the country our hospital is an extraordinary achievement and a testament to the hard work of all those involved from the NHS staff, to the builders, carpenters and architects, the armed forces, our university hosts and everyone else. Each and every person has played their part to get us to where we are today - hoping that we will not be needed, but ready to care with compassion, if and when we are needed.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is testament to the tireless work of the NHS clinicians, builders, architects and military planners involved that the NHS now has another vital piece in its response to this virus - NHS Nightingale Bristol.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our health and social care staff who will be working at NHS Nightingale Bristol, serving people locally and providing vital extra capacity for local hospitals should it be needed.
“We all continue to have a role to play in staying home to support our NHS and save lives.”
The official opening provides an opportunity to thank all those involved who have pulled out all the stops to ensure that capacity still exists to care for patients with coronavirus.