COVID-19 hospitals in the United Kingdom

COVID-19 hospitals in the United Kingdom is located in the United Kingdom
South Wales
South Wales
North Wales
North Wales
City of Sunderland
City of Sunderland
Locations of temporary coronavirus hospitals. A blue marker indicates a network of temporary hospitals and a red marker indicates a single large temporary hospital.

The COVID-19 hospitals in the United Kingdom are temporary hospitals being set up or scheduled for setting up in the United Kingdom and overseas territories as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They principally include the seven NHS England Nightingale Hospitals, NHS Scotland's Louisa Jordan hospital, NHS Wales' Dragon's Heart Hospital, and the Northern Irish Health and Social Care site at Belfast City Hospital, as well as the Florence Nightingale temporary hospital in the Europa Point Sports Complex, Gibraltar.


As the 2020 Covid-19 epidemic first took hold in the United Kingdom, its government and the public health services of the home nations started planning the creation of temporary large-scale critical care hospitals to provide cover for the projected increase in patients likely to require this type of treatment.[1][2][3][4] It reflected wider NHS re-structuring to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic and anticipated strain on NHS services [5]

The initiative is being carried out in coordination with the British Armed Forces' COVID Support Force, under the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities provisions,[6] as part of Operation Rescript.[7]

The field hospitals are intended to be used treat critical care patients who are regarded as being less severely ill, while the most severely ill patients will be treated in mainstream NHS hospitals.[8]

NHS EnglandEdit

NHS England have created a number of field hospitals named "NHS Nightingale" after the nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.


On 24 March 2020, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in England, Matt Hancock, announced that the first of these temporary hospitals in England would be in the ExCeL London conference centre in the East End of London. It will initially have 500 beds, but has a 4,000 bed capacity across its two wards.[9] It was later revealed that the hospital's name would be the NHS Nightingale Hospital London. A large mortuary is also being constructed on Wanstead Flats, a few miles to the north of the hospital.[10] It has been reported that the hospital will be the largest critical care unit in the world.[11]


On 27 March 2020, chief executive of NHS England Sir Simon Stevens announced that a 5,000 capacity Nightingale[12] facility at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre is planned.[13] A temporary mortuary is being constructed near Birmingham airport.[14] Having been ready since 10 April, the hospital was officially opened on 16 April 2020.[15][16]


Stevens also announced on the 27th March that a further 1,000 bed Nightingale[17] provision at Manchester Central Convention Complex will open.[13]


On 30 March 2020, it was reported that the Harrogate Convention Centre, North Yorkshire, was to become a field hospital. It was said to be one fifth of the size of the 4,000-bed NHS Nightingale Hospital London.[18] On 31 March, NHS England responded by stating no plans had been finalised but they continued to "actively prepare" for further hospitals if required.[19] But by April, press photographs were showing work progress on the Harrogate site[20] and it was being reported as a confirmed field hospital.[21]


On 1 April 2020, it was reported that leisure centres in Cumbria, including the Whitehaven Sports Centre, the Carlisle Sands Centre, the Penrith Leisure Centre, Kendal Leisure Centre and Furness Academy in Barrow were confirmed field hospital sites. Work started on 1 April and when complete they will have 500 beds.[21][22]


On 3 April 2020, it was announced that an additional Nightingale hospital in Bristol was to be built at the Exhibition and Conference Centre of the University of the West of England.[23][24] It would be ready for use from 25 April, but would only be used if needed during the peak of the outbreak.[25] It was officially opened on 27 April 2020, with the capacity to care for 60 patients, and the ability to scale up to 300 if required.


On 10 April 2020, details emerged of plans for another Nightingale hospital facility to be set up to provide 200 beds at Clyst St Mary, east of Exeter, within the Westpoint Arena, to take the pressure off bed spaces needed for critical care at pre-existing hospitals in the South West of England.[26] Plans were subsequently changed, as estimates of the regional rates of transmission were refined downwards, to establish a smaller NHS Nightingale (Exeter) hospital in a disused Homebase store.[27]


On 10 April, it was announced that a 460-bed facility would be built in Washington, in the City of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear.[28] The hospital, at the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing, opened on 5 May.

NHS ScotlandEdit

As of April 2020, the SEC Centre in Glasgow is in the process of being converted to the NHS Louisa Jordan, a temporary hospital serving Scotland. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the facility could be operational within two weeks and will have a 300-bed capacity but with the potential to raise it beyond 1,000 beds.[20] The facility is to be named NHS Louisa Jordan after the World War I nurse Louisa Jordan.[29]

NHS WalesEdit

Swansea Bay
Locations of temporary coronavirus hospitals in Wales


On 27 March 2020, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board CEO Len Richards announced that the Principality Stadium would be turned into a temporary hospital with 2,000 beds.[30] Once open it will be the third largest hospital in the United Kingdom, after the Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre London and the Nightingale Hospital at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre.[31]

On 8 April its name was given as the Dragon's Heart Hospital (Welsh: Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig) and it was announced that the first 300 beds would be available on 11 April.[32]

Regional temporary hospitalsEdit

In addition, work has begun to provide 340 bed spaces[33] at Llandarcy Academy of Sport in Neath[34] and 150 beds[33] at a council facility in Ty Trevithick in Abercynon,[35] while Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli is to be used to provide 500 beds,[36] with Rodney Parade in Newport being turned into a testing station.[36] In northern Wales, Venue Cymru in Llandudno is being prepared to receive 350 beds, Deeside Leisure Centre in Flintshire will have 250 beds, and an extra 80 beds are being installed at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, while Bangor University[37] will also be prepared to receive 250 beds.[33][38]

The Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire is to be used as a recovery centre for COVID-19 patients.[39]

The Bay Field Hospital, SwanseaEdit

In April 2020, Bay Studios on the site of the former Swansea Bay Motor Factory located on the outskirts of Swansea City Centre was announced by Swansea Council to be the chosen site for a 1,000-bed hospital. Within 1 month 420 beds and 80 discharge seats were made available, and the facility was handed over to the Swansea Bay University Health Board on 10 May 2020.[40] Swansea Council funded the Swansea Bay Hospital injecting £50 million of available funds in to the project which was set aside for the new indoor arena which is currently being built in the City Centre.

HSC Northern IrelandEdit

HSC Northern Ireland started planning for a similar initiative in mid-March 2020, with a number of sites under consideration.[41][42]

HSC Northern Ireland is also using the "Nightingale" name for its hospitals.[43]

On 2 April it was reported that the tower block of Belfast City Hospital was being converted into the first Nightingale in Northern Ireland.[44][45] The block will become a 230-bed unit staffed by a team drawn from across Northern Ireland.[44]

The same report also stated that First Minister Arlene Foster had revealed that a Nightingale hospital could be based at the Eikon Exhibition Centre in Balmoral Park, and that the Department of Health was assessing its potential as a second Nightingale facility in preparation for a possible second wave later in 2020.[44]

Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA)Edit

A "Nightingale" field hospital was completed in Gibraltar at the Europa Point Sports Complex, during the week of 3 April 2020.[46]


At full capacity, it is estimated that the NHS Nightingale Hospital London alone will need up to 16,000 workers to keep it running.[47]

Nursing leaders have expressed concern about where the extra workers to staff the new hospitals would be found.[48] The government has issued a call for airline cabin crew to volunteer to be cross-trained as specialist health assistants.[49]

List of actual and planned hospitalsEdit

List of NHS COVID-19 field hospitals
Authority Hospital Site location Max. Capacity Official announcement (planned), Opened/ first patients Ref
NHS England NHS Nightingale Hospital London ExCeL London, England 4,000–5,000 24 March 2020 3 April / 7 April 'Mothballed' 4 May [50][51][13][52]
NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England 496 (initial)
800 (phase 1)
2,000 (phase 2)
4,000 beds (worst-case scenario).[53]
27 March 2020 10 April 2020/ [13]
NHS Nightingale Hospital North West Manchester Central Convention Complex, Manchester, England 1,000 27 March 2020 13 April 2020/ [13]
NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre, Bristol, England 1,000 3 April 2020 27 April/ [54][55][56]
NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber Harrogate Convention Centre, North Yorkshire, England 500 3 April 2020 21 April/ [18][55][57]
NHS Nightingale Hospital NE Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing, Washington, City of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England 460 10 April 2020 5 May 2020/ [58]
NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter Former Homebase store, Sowton Industrial Estate, Exeter, England <200 10 April 2020 ("Late May 2020")[citation needed] [26][27]
Cumbria field hospitals Leisure centres in Whitehaven, Carlisle, Penrith, Kendal, and Furness Academy in Barrow, England 500 1 April 2020 [21][59][60]
HSC Northern Ireland HSC Nightingale Hospital Belfast Belfast City Hospital Tower Block, Belfast, Northern Ireland 230 2 April 2020 [44][45]
NHS Scotland NHS Louisa Jordan SEC Centre, Glasgow, Scotland 1,000 30 March 2020 19 April ready, 30 April official opening/ [20][61][62]
NHS Wales Dragon's Heart Hospital (Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig) Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales 2,000 27 March 2020 13 April/ 28 April [31][63][64][65][66][67]
Rainbow Hospital (Ysbyty Enfys) Venue Cymru, Llandudno, Wales 350 2 April 2020 [37]
Hywel Dda Health Board field hospitals Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli, Wales 500 27 March 2020 [33][36]
Bluestone National Park 144 2 April 2020 [33]
Other Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board field hospitals Bangor University 250 2 April 2020 [33]
Deeside Leisure Centre 250 2 April 2020 [33][68]
Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan 80 2 April 2020 [33]
Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board field hospitals Welsh Rugby Union centres in Hensol and Abercynon, Wales, amongst others 900 2 April 2020 [68][69]
Swansea field hospital Bay Studios, Fabian Way, Swansea, Wales 1,000 2 April 2020 7 May 2020/ [68][38]
Neath Port Talbot field hospital Llandarcy Academy of Sport, Llandarcy, Neath Port Talbot, Wales 340 2 April 2020 [68][38]
Gibraltar Health Authority Florence Nightingale Field Hospital Europa Point, Gibraltar 300 Week of 3 April/ [46]

See alsoEdit


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