More than 750 St John Ambulance volunteers sign up for coronavirus Nightingale Hospital

29 March 2020, 13:27

The NHS Nightingale will be able to take up to 4,000 patients each day
The NHS Nightingale will be able to take up to 4,000 patients each day. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

More than 750 St John Ambulance volunteers are offering to help at the newly assembled Nightingale Hospital in a bid to tackle the coronavirus.

The new recruits will work alongside the already existing 8,500 volunteers and are undergoing a selection procedure and getting further training.

The charity says they could be in the field and caring for coronavirus patients as early as next Wednesday.

200 first-aiders will be needed each day to work in shifts around the clock at the hospital set up in London's ExCel centre, which is usually used as a venue for exhibitions and trade fairs.

Others will be assisting in other makeshift centres around the country.

The charity's chief operating officer Richard Lee said: "In the coming weeks and months, St John Ambulance will face extraordinary demands, the likes of which our organisation has not faced in peacetime.

It is being built at London's ExCel centre
It is being built at London's ExCel centre. Picture: PA
The Army has been helping to get it ready
The Army has been helping to get it ready. Picture: PA

"Our resources will be stretched, and our people will be tested, but we will stop at nothing to help beat this virus.”

The NHS’s chief nursing officer for England Ruth May said she was delighted at the charity's offer for help.

“We cannot win this battle against the virus alone," she added.

According to ITV News, David Lloyd Clubs is in talks with the government in converting a "handful" of gyms into medical facilities.

The NHS will build more temporary hospitals in Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Scotland.

Cardiff's Principality Stadium will provide up to 2,000 more beds, Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre will add 500 with the potential to grow to 2,000.

There will also be another 500 at Manchester Central Convention Complex with the capacity to expand to 1,000

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