Captain Tom Moore to open new NHS Nightingale coronavirus hospital in Harrogate

Fundraising inspiration Captain Tom Moore is set to open the latest NHS Nightingale - temporary hospitals set up to help fight against coronavirus - in Harrogate.

Captain Moore, the World War II veteran who has raised over £27 million for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden, said he was "honoured" to be opening the hospital.

The facility, which will provide up to 500 additional critical care beds for Covid-19 patients across Yorkshire and the Humber, is housed within the Harrogate Convention Centre which has a capacity of more than 5,000.

The hospital has eight halls, split into individual wards of 30 beds, with most halls split into two or three separate wards.

The temporary hospital, one of seven being set up around England, was built by a team of NHS specialists with support from the British Army.

It took just three weeks for the convention centre to be converted into a hospital, with work beginning on March 30.

It joins existing Nightingales in London, Manchester and Birmingham, with more being worked on in Bristol, Exeter and Sunderland.

Those being treated at the hospital will be Covid-19-positive patients transferred from intensive care units at other hospitals in the area.

Staff at the hospital will be made up from other hospitals in the region and will undergo training before beginning work there.

The latest Nightingale hospital is one of seven in England. Credit: Twitter/HarrogateConventions

The hospital will be "bolstered" by support from the military, the recruitment of former doctors and nurses, plus members of the public who can apply for specific support roles.

Ahead of opening the facility, Captain Moore said: "I have fought during a war and they are now fighting in a war, too.

"I'm honoured to be opening the NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and Humber and to get to thank many of the NHS workers directly.

"I know that having extra beds available for the sick, if needed will be reassuring to those workers, as it would have been to me when I was on the front line."

Others at the hospital's virtual opening were Health Secretary Matt Hancock and NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens, who both delivered video messages.

Mr Hancock said it was “an honour” to open the hospital alongside Captain Tom and said he was “incredibly impressed by the sheer dedication, professionalism and altruism” of those involved in the project.

He added: “My heartfelt thanks also goes out to all the staff who will be working on the ground, providing extra capacity for patients if local hospitals need it.”

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