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Health Minister visits NI’s first Nightingale Hospital

The new regional unit, will be a key part of surge plans drawn up to cope with the expected increase in patients affected by Covid-19. Credit: PA

Health Minister Robin Swann has visited the facilities at Northern Ireland’s first Nightingale Hospital.

Belfast City Hospital’s tower block will be designated as Northern Ireland’s first Nightingale hospital to cope with the expected increase in patients affected by Covid-19.

Health Minister Robin Swann visiting NI's first Nightingale Hospital.

A team will be drawn from across Northern Ireland to staff the 230-bed facility.

Mr Swann says there has been a "tremendous" amount of work undertaken at a great pace.

I want to thank healthcare staff and those companies and organisations who responded so quickly and effectively to make this transformation possible.

– Robin Swann, Health Minister
Health Minister Robin Swann visiting NI's first Nightingale Hospital.

The Department confirmed that they have now increased its total of mechanical ventilators used in critical care to 197.

Further substantial orders are in place for additional ventilators and a wide range of devices capable of providing respiratory support.

In a statement from Mr Swann, he said: “Currently across health and social care in Northern Ireland there is sufficient capacity, equipment and oxygen to provide critical care for those who need it. We have additional ventilators on order to meet our estimated clinical care need of 400 ventilated clinical care beds. And there are another 500 respiratory devices on order that can support patients before or after critical care.”

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know