The British Armed Forces will turn three major conference venues into temporary NHS hospitals, according to an internal document seen by the BBC. It shows:
- Phase 1 is the Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre in London’s Docklands. The document states it will have capacity of between 4,000 and 5,000 beds and will open in the last week of March
- Phase 2 is a temporary hospital for England and Wales at the NEC centre in Birmingham. The document says it will have capacity for 5,000 beds and will open in mid-April
- Phase 3 is the Convention Complex – formally GMEX – in Manchester. The document states it will have 1,000 beds and open in mid-April
Scotland is not mentioned in the document, but the Army there has already confirmed to the BBC that the Royal Engineers have visited the SECC in Glasgow as a possible site for a temporary hospital.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said it was “working hard to identify where it can most effectively assist other government departments and civil authorities”.
“Through the Covid Support Force, the Armed Forces have over 20,000 personnel including specialist planners, medics and logisticians ready to assist with the response to the outbreak.”