Duke of Cambridge opens Birmingham's Nightingale Hospital with praise for NHS

16 April 2020, 14:08 | Updated: 16 April 2020, 14:37

Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

The Duke of Cambridge has officially opened Birmingham's Nightingale Hospital, where he also made a speech to praise the "selfless commitment" of the NHS.

Speaking via video link to adhere with social distancing guidelines, William said the temporary field hospital was a "wonderful example" of people "pulling together" to face coronavirus.

The duke opened the facility via video link to adhere to social distancing rules
The duke opened the facility via video link to adhere to social distancing rules. Picture: PA

"The building you are standing in is yet another example of how people across the country have risen to this unprecedented challenge," he said.

"The Nightingale hospitals will rightly go down as landmarks in the history of the NHS.

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Staff observed social distancing as they listened to the duke's message
Staff observed social distancing as they listened to the duke's message. Picture: PA

"The NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham is a wonderful example of Britain pulling together.

The new facility, which has been erected in Birmingham's NEC exhibition centre, is one of seven temporary hospitals created to help with the response to the pandemic.

It was put together by more than 400 civilian contractors, military personnel and around 500 clinical staff.

The facility in Birmingham is the second of seven Nightingale Hospitals to open
The facility in Birmingham is the second of seven Nightingale Hospitals to open. Picture: PA

The duke went on to say he had spoken to some of the people involved in building the Nightingale Hospital, which is the second to open, adding that they deserved "huge thanks" and should be "hugely proud" of the achievement.

He said: "You all deserve our huge thanks, and you should all be hugely proud of what you have achieved in such a short space of time.

"I know that the Nightingale Birmingham will provide invaluable resources for hospitals from miles and miles around.

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The facility has been built inside the Birmingham NEC exhibition centre
The facility has been built inside the Birmingham NEC exhibition centre. Picture: PA

"This will reassure people across the Midlands that if their local hospitals reach capacity, there will be extra beds available for their loved ones here.

"I find that very comforting and I know many other people will too."

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William also paid tribute to the "incredible work" carried out by NHS workers and for their continued commitment to fighting COVID-19

He said: "Their selfless commitment has touched the hearts of the entire nation."

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