MCCC Blue
Manchester's emergency Nightingale Hospital was built at MCCC in April

Nightingale hospital to stay open all year

Dan Whelan

Discussions are ongoing on how best to use the emergency coronavirus hospital at Manchester Central Convention Centre, but it is expected to remain in place for the rest of the year, according to mayor Andy Burnham.  

The 190,000 sq ft temporary hospital has a capacity of 650 beds and is currently accommodating a “small number” of patients, the Greater Manchester mayor added. 

Speaking at his weekly virtual press briefing, Burnham told Place North West that the centre would not revert back to its intended use any time soon. He did not reveal exactly how many beds are being used at present. 

“There will be no decision to stand [the facility] down any time soon, because of the risk of a second spike,” he said.  

“We have got to have that fall-back option in case there is a second spike and I think everyone will agree that the winter will be a challenging period if we are in a position where there is no vaccine.”

The MCCC opened as an emergency Covid-19 hospital in April, after architecture studio BDP designed the project and contractor Integrated Health projects, a joint venture between Vinci and Sir Robert McAlpine, carried out the conversion in a matter of weeks. 

During the press briefing, Burnham also reiterated his calls to Government to provide adequate funding for public transport. 

Since Sunday, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a partial lifting of lockdown restrictions, Burnham said Greater Manchester has seen a “modest increase” in the use of public transport and a 4% increase in cars on the road compared to the period before his announcement. 

The Government is currently footing the bill for 75% of Metrolink Manchester’s running costs but the mayor said more money is  needed to provide an increase in services on the tram network, which would enable people to social distance more effectively. 

The Metrolink is currently providing services at 20-minute intervals across its network and Burnham said that some services, at particular times, were too busy for safe social distancing to take place. 

He said: “We are in a difficult position when people are being told to return to work but we can’t provide extra services.” 

Burnham and Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, wrote a letter to Johnson warning him that it was too early to lift the lockdown restrictions in the North West.

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Too early to lift lockdown, yet the Gmex is empty? Andy Burnham playing party politics and not thinking about the economy.

By The Old Faithful

Leave it in place for the Christmas party season at Manchester Central and suggest a fancy dress doctors and nurses Christmas fancy dress.

Push a few beds to one side to get the usual funfair and stage in there.

Job’s a good ‘un.

Lots of places for revellers to crash out.

By North by North-West

Liberate Manchester

By Anonymous

The Nightingale Hospitals were set up by and are being funded by NHS England, not by Burnham. He will be consulted, but doesn’t ultimately decide whether they remain or not – NHS England make that decision.

The fact that NHS England made this decision indicates they feel there is a need for this. 2nd waves have already starting in places which had the virus before the UK (China, S Korea, etc) so a second wave is expected. Epidemiologists for the UK initial predicted over the summer or autumn, however some this week have expressed concern that this 2nd wave will hit sooner and harder given the UK Govt’s poor management of unlocking…

By MancLad

Party politics from Burnham again, what a clown

By Dan

Old Faithful – spot on!!

By Anonymous

It must stay in place!! A second wave is likely if we now venture into a better balance of economy versus health capacity/need.

By Anonymous

This hospital has never had any more than 15 patients at any one time. The cost to keep it open is really not justified for what is really now just an unnecessary stop gap between hospital and home. Surely it’s time to stand it down?

By Anonymous

I’m a HCSW at Nightingale North West. It’s more equipment warehouse than hospital. We have fewer than 10 patients, each with several doctors, nurses, physios and other HCSWs. Another cohort of staff are undertaking a mismanaged two-week induction where training is duplicated or completely irrelevant, only finding out what they’re doing on the day the very same morning. Call me a cynic but I suspect it’s being kept open so the administrators and contractors can keep milking public funds.

By Anonymous

Why don’t they just move all local COVID patients to it and free up beds and safe air in the hospitals for other patients, such as cancer?

By Bob

It’s not a hospital – it’s a big shed with some beds in it.

By Suman

Anonymous – the final accounts of the contractors have been settled son they aren’t making anything.

The main reason that they are being left in place for the time being is they act as surge centres, and will do so for another couple of months.

By North by North-West

I love the inaccuracies posted in this thread from so called ‘staff’, anyone working within the hospital for the past 5 weeks will tell you that week on week we have been getting busier. It’s a stand down facility for those that don’t need or can’t be ventilated and the message is very clear; our use in the near future will be to relieve the patient numbers within a variety of trusts so they may resume other vital services.

We have already treated more patients than the London Noghtingale, we are the only temporary hospital in the UK with patients currently and the figure is growing day on day now that teams and systems are in place.

Why people wish to knock the facility I don’t know. The NW Nightingale is another prime example of Mancunians/Northerners coming together in crisis to overcome. We have a facility that is serving a decent purpose currently, more importantly we have a venue and staff who are gaining experience, They are seeing the process of recovery within patients and witnessing the reality that some don’t make it.

In the eventuality of a second peak we will have a valuable resource with experience, capacity and importantly staff. I for one would rather that than a ‘hibernated’ hospital which in reality is going to be able to provide little immediate support if we are suddenly hit with a another crisis of space/resources.

By Staff NW Nightingale

We are an agency created by nurses who have a passion for patients and nurses’ wellbeing. We are not there to rip off the NHS but to work with the NHS in times of need so there is safe staffing, for effective patients care.

By Bloomlilly Healthcare