Harrogate Nightingale hospital to treat up to 500 coronavirus patients

A Nightingale hospital in Harrogate is being set up to help treat patients with coronavirus from Yorkshire and North East England.

The field hospital, based at the town's Convention Centre is one of a number of locations around the country announced by NHS England.

The Harrogate hospital will be able to care for up to 500 coronavirus patients at a time.

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough said:

To have one serving Yorkshire is important because we might just need it."

Andrew Jones MP, Harrogate and Knaresborough

Andrew added: ''We must have the capacity to deal with people who may become or who are critically ill'':

Only two or three months ago, nobody knew the coronavirus existed. So we have to respond quickly and the NHS has done that. ''So we must have the capacity to deal with people who may become or who are critically ill. We're already seeing a shocking number of people getting poorly and indeed in many cases also dying, so having the facilities to cater for those is critical. ''I think people generally know we have a major crisis on, they are really complying with it. This is right in the centre of Harrogate, these are really quiet streets today, but normally packed. So people are following the message, of staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives. But I think locally, people are thinking 'right this is great that Harrogate can play a slightly different role here, by using these facilities to provide a service for not just this area but for the whole of the region'.''

Andrew Jones MP, Harrogate and Knaresborough
Harrogate Convention Centre Credit: ITV News

The Harrogate hospital and another one due to open in Bristol, means there will be an additional 1,500 beds to help deal with the coronavirus crisis.

The news comes on the same day that the the first new hospital is due to open in London.

The new 4,000-bed facility at the ExCel Centre in the capital’s Docklands has been built in less than a fortnight, as hospitals up their critical care capacity to deal with Covid-19.

Nightingale Hospital, London Credit: PA

The Harrogate and Bristol hospitals will join other sites due to open at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre and Manchester's Central Complex.

NHS hospitals have already managed to free up more than 33,000 beds which is equivalent to 50 new hospitals, according to the service.

The NHS’ chief executive has called the building of the London hospital “nothing short of extraordinary”:

Now we are gearing up to repeat that feat at another four sites across the country to add to the surge capacity in current NHS hospitals.

Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive NHS

The Health Secretary has also paid tribute to the “hard work and dedication” of staff working on the hospitals across the country.

Matt Hancock, Health Secretary Credit: PA

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.

Matt Hancock, Health Secretary
Harrogate Convention Centre Credit: ITV News