NHS Nightingale Hospitals

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NHS Nightingale Hospitals is located in England
Locations of NHS Nightingale Hospitals

The NHS Nightingale Hospitals are seven critical care temporary hospitals set up or scheduled to be set up by NHS England as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in England.

The first of these hospitals to open was the NHS Nightingale Hospital London, which was officially opened on 3 April. As of 5 May 2020, six of the seven planned hospitals have been opened.


As the COVID-19 epidemic was spreading in England, the UK government and NHS England were planning temporary large-scale critical care hospitals to provide cover for the projected increase in patients likely to need this type of facility [1] and reflects a wide scale reorganisation of NHS services to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic [2] There are also similar hospitals being set up in other countries of the UK as part of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, namely Dragon's Heart Hospital in Cardiff, NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital in Glasgow, and the extension to Belfast City Hospital.[3][4]

These hospitals have been named after Florence Nightingale, who came to prominence for nursing soldiers during the Crimean War and is regarded as the founder of modern nursing.[5]



On 27 March, chief executive of NHS England Sir Simon Stevens announced that a temporary 5,000-bed facility at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre would open in mid-April.[6] The hospital became operational on 10 April, with 500 beds,[7][8][9] and was officially opened as NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham by Prince William, using a video link, on 16 April.[10] The hospital was designed as a 'step down facility', for patients recovering from COVID-19 or those not suitable for ventilation.[11]

On 5 May, it was announced that the hospital would be placed on standby, having admitted no patients.[12]


On 3 April, NHS England announced that a hospital for the Bristol area was to be built in University of the West of England (UWE).[13] The hospital is stated to have a planned capacity of up to 300 beds and is located in the Exhibition and Conference Centre on UWE Bristol's Frenchay campus.[14] Spare student accommodation is also to be made available for doctors and nurses at the Frenchay campus.[14] The hospital will have space to provide up to 1,000 beds, if necessary.[15]

According to the vice-chancellor of UWE, Steve West, all buildings and car parks required for the hospital have been leased to the NHS for a fee of £1, for as long as is needed.[16]

This hospital was officially opened on 27 April 2020, in a virtual ceremony, by Matt Hancock (health secretary), Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens.[17] It has the capacity to care for 60 patients, with the ability to scale up to 300 if required.


On 10 April, it was announced that a temporary hospital is to be provided in Exeter.[18] The hospital, was originally expected to be built in Westpoint Arena near Clyst St Mary, and provide 200 beds, is due to be ready for use in early May.[19] With the number of Covid-19 cases in the catchment area being lower than originally expected, the decision was taken to switch its location to the smaller site of a former retail outlet in Sowton for the hospital.[17]


On 3 April, a hospital for Harrogate, Yorkshire was announced by NHS England, with a 500-bed capacity, in the Harrogate Convention Centre.[13] Tom Moore, a 99-year-old army veteran who had raised more £27M to support health service workers, officially opened the hospital on 21 April 2020.[20]


NHS Nightingale Hospital London during its refit on 30 March 2020

On 24 March 2020, the UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock, who is responsible for the NHS in England, announced that ExCeL London would be the first field hospital. It was planned to initially have 500 beds, with the capacity for 4,000-5,000 beds across its two wards if necessary later.[21][6]

Also on 3 April, the London hospital became the first to enter service when it was officially opened by Prince Charles by videolink.[22]

On the 4th May 2020, it was announced that the hospital would be placed on standby, and would not admit any new patients.[23]


On 27 March, Simon Stevens also announced that a 1,000-bed hospital was to be provided in the Manchester Central Convention Complex, also due to open in mid-April.[6]

The hospital was ready to receive patients on Easter Sunday, 13 April 2020.[24][25] The official opening, by Duchess of Cornwall in a recorded speech, took place on 17 April 2020.[26]


On 10 April, it was announced that a 460-bed facility would be built in Washington, Tyne and Wear.[18] The hospital, at the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing, was expected to be ready for use within two weeks.[27]

The hospital was officially opened on 5 May 2020, in a virtual ceremony, by Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Health). The opening ceremony also featured television celebrities Ant and Dec, football pundit Alan Shearer and cricketer Ben Stokes.[28]


Towards the end of March, nursing leaders expressed concern about where the extra workers to staff the new hospitals would be found.[29] On 30 March, the government issued a call for airline cabin crew to volunteer to be cross-trained as specialist health assistants.[30]


The Tesco supermarket chain has plans to open pop-up branches of its convenience stores in the NHS Nightingale hospitals in order to provide convenient shopping facilities for hospital staff. It opened the first one in Birmingham Nightingale on 13 April.[31] Discussions are ongoing to open shops in the London, Harrogate and Manchester Nightingales too.[32]


List of NHS Nightingale Hospitals
Hospital Site location Current capacity (potential) Announced Officially opened
NHS Nightingale Hospital London ExCeL London 500 (4,000-5,000) 24 March 2020 3 April 2020
NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham 496 (5,000) 27 March 2020 16 April 2020
NHS Nightingale Hospital North West Manchester Central Convention Complex (750) 27 March 2020 17 April 2020
NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber Harrogate Convention Centre (500) 3 April 2020 21 April 2020
NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol University of the West of England, Bristol (300 beds, 1,000 people) 3 April 2020 27 April 2020
NHS Nightingale Hospital North East Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing, Washington (460 beds) 10 April 2020 5 May 2020
NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter Sowton, Exeter 10 April 2020


  1. ^ "Two more UK facilities to be converted into 'NHS Nightingale' coronavirus hospitals". ITV News. 27 March 2020.
  2. ^ Rimmer, MP, Al Wattar, BH, on behalf of the UKARCOG Members. Provision of obstetrics and gynaecology services during the COVID‐19 pandemic: a survey of junior doctors in the UK National Health Service. BJOG 2020; https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.16313. 00: 000– 000.
  3. ^ "In pictures: NHS Nightingale Hospital London". BBC News. 31 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Take a look inside NHS Nightingale, London's new coronavirus hospital". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Coronavirus: Nightingale Hospital opens at London's ExCel centre". BBC News. 3 April 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Coronavirus: Birmingham and Manchester temporary hospitals announced". BBC News. 27 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Birmingham Nightingale hospital 'operational'". BBC News. 4 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Birmingham NEC Nightingale Hospital 'phenomenal' effort". Express & Star. 8 April 2020.
  9. ^ Reynolds, Jordan. "Birmingham Nightingale Hospital could be used for non-coronavirus operations". www.expressandstar.com. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  10. ^ Rodger, James (16 April 2020). "Birmingham's NHS Nightingale Hospital officially declared open by Prince William". Birmingham Live.
  11. ^ "City's Nightingale hospital 'has no patients'". BBC News. 26 April 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  12. ^ "NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham put on 'standby' after no patients admitted". ITV News. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  13. ^ a b "Coronavirus: Bristol and Harrogate Nightingale hospitals announced". BBC News. 3 April 2020.
  14. ^ a b "NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol". North Bristol NHS Trust. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  15. ^ "NHS To Build More Nightingale Hospitals, As London Set For Opening". NHS England. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  16. ^ DL, Steve West CBE (4 April 2020). "We have handed over the ECC plus all additional buildings required and car parking on a lease for £1.00 for as long as it is needed". @VCUWE. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Bristol's Nightingale hospital to fight against coronavirus opens at UWE campus". ITV News. 27 April 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Coronavirus: 'Herculean effort' to provide NHS protective gear". BBC News. 10 April 2020.
  19. ^ Merritt, Anita (11 April 2020). "More details revealed about Devon's Nightingale hospital". DevonLive.
  20. ^ "Coronavirus: Capt Tom Moore opens Harrogate NHS Nightingale hospital". BBC News. 21 April 2020.
  21. ^ Haynes, Deborah; McCann, Kate (26 March 2020). "Coronavirus: Around 10 more UK sites could become makeshift hospitals". Sky News.
  22. ^ Davies, Caroline (3 April 2020). "Prince Charles to open NHS Nightingale to treat Covid-19 patients". The Guardian.
  23. ^ "Nightingale Hospital in London 'placed on standby'". BBC News. 4 May 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  24. ^ "A huge new hospital in Manchester city centre is ready to take its first patients - and all this took just two weeks". Manchester Evening News. 13 April 2020.
  25. ^ @MichaelMcCourt1 (13 April 2020). "1st tweet as CEO NHS Nightingale North West. Proud & thankful to be able to say we take our first patients today. In 14 days huge NHS, Army & NHS partner effort this hospital is open. A lot of attention on us but don't want to forget we are here to support an already busy NW NHS" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  26. ^ "Coronavirus: Duchess of Cornwall opens NHS Nightingale Hospital North West". BBC News. 17 April 2020.
  27. ^ Lindsay, Kali (10 April 2020). "Nightingale Hospital for coronavirus patients to open in the North East". nechronicle. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  28. ^ "Coronavirus: Nightingale hospital opens in Sunderland". BBC News. 5 May 2020.
  29. ^ Gilroy, Rebecca (27 March 2020). "Nurse leaders in the dark about NHS Nightingale workforce". Nursing Times. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  30. ^ Sample, Ian; Marsh, Sarah (29 March 2020). "Cabin crews drafted in to help at new coronavirus hospitals". The Guardian.
  31. ^ Rodger, James (20 April 2020). "Tesco opens 24-hour store at Birmingham's new NHS Nightingale Hospital". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  32. ^ Jahshan, Elias (7 April 2020). "Tesco eyes pop-up stores at NHS Nightingale sites". Retail Gazette.