April/May/June 2020

Manchester Central becomes new NHS Nightingale hospital

NHS staff are working day and night to create the new NHS Nightingale Hospital North West. The temporary hospital at Manchester Central is being put in place to for patients across the entire North West. They are joined by experts from the military, social care, local government, and charities at Manchester Central. Their combined efforts have created a new hospital, clinical model and recruitment programme in just ten days.

The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West will be equipped and staffed to receive up to 750 patients, and will be staffed by consultants, junior doctors, nurses, healthcare support workers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, occupational therapists, social workers, and a huge range of non-clinical support workers and administrators. They will look after Covid-19 patients from across the region who do not need intensive care but who still need treatment. The hospital will link closely to community health and social care services, and patients will be transferred there from the network of hospitals across the North West.

Jackie Bird, Chief Nurse for NHS England and NHS Improvement North West, said: “The Nightingale programme, together with the rest of the Coronavirus response, really shows what the NHS and its partners can achieve when it pulls all the stops out. It’s been very heartening to see so many people and different organisations pulling together to create an entire hospital in the space of a fortnight.” The project lead for the hospital is Ian Williamson, who is also Chief Accountable Officer of Manchester Health and Care Commissioning. He said: “This will provide the highest possible standard of care for Covid-19 patients from across the whole region, and will free up capacity in our hospitals.”

A new executive leadership team has been quickly established. Michael McCourt, Chief Executive Officer of Manchester and Trafford Local Care Organisations, has been appointed Chief Executive. The team is working with NHS Professionals, a leading provider of flexible workforce services to the NHS, to recruit the right staff at the new hospital without destabilising the rest of the NHS in the region.

Shaun Hinds, Chief Executive of Manchester Central, said: “The Manchester Central team has pulled out every stop to help get the facility mobilised as quickly as possible. The pace at which the operation got underway and the manner in which all parties have come together to make this happen is truly commendable. We are incredibly proud to be able to use our venue and our skills to support the phenomenal work that the NHS are doing and hope that our contribution helps the North West, and indeed the UK, to recover as quickly as possible from these challenging times.”

Sir Richard Leese, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “We are proud and delighted that Manchester Central has been transformed into this vital part of the fight against Coronavirus and will serve the whole of the North West.”