Nightingale Hospital ExCel will treat less critical Covid-19 patients

Younger coronavirus victims who were previously fit and healthy will be treated at London’s NHS Nightingale while sicker patients more likely to die are cared for at normal hospitals, senior doctors reveal

  • ExCel will treat younger people, mostly, so that NHS can prioritise the elderly
  • The east London hospital will treat people who were formally fit and healthy 
  • Birmingham’s Nightingale Hospital will care for patients without Covid-19
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Britain’s first temporary coronavirus hospital will be used to treat patients who were previously fit and healthy, when it opens this week.

The ExCel Centre in Newham, East London, will start with 500 beds open for Covid-19 patients, but there is space for up to 4,000 should demand grow.

London’s temporary Nightingale hospital has been built to treat people who are at a lower risk of dying from the disease, so it will mostly treat the Capital’s younger patients who were healthy before the outbreak, The Guardian reports.

Soldiers and private contractors are readying the Excel Centre for the opening of NHS Nightingale hospital this week. Workers are pictured next to hospital beds on Monday

Spaces around the country are being converted into hospitals to ease the pressure on existing sites feeling the strain of the coronavirus pandemic

The Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre analysed all admissions to critical care units in the UK up until midnight last Thursday. 

At that time, there were 194 coronavirus patients in ICU. That number is thought to have soared in the last four days.

The document provided the first in-depth look at patients who have needed round-the-clock care and boosted medics’ understanding of the virus that has crippled society. 

So, what did it show?

Average age of admission: 64


Men: 139 (70.9%)

Woman: 57 (29.1%)







1 (0.6%)

49 (27.7%)

56 (31.6%)

58 (32.8%)

13 (7.3%) 

Dependency level


Some assistance

Total assistance 

155 (87.1%)

23 (12.9%)


No clear details were given about the breakdown of what other conditions the patients had, such as asthma, high blood pressure or diabetes. 

Older patients or those who are at a higher risk of death will be treated at NHS hospitals around London.  

A senior doctor with knowledge of the government’s planned response told the paper: ‘There is a two-tier system but it’s a medically appropriate two-tier system,.

‘The sick will go to the ExCel and the very sick will stay in hospital, because that’s an appropriate use of NHS resources.

‘Anyone who goes to either place will be critically ill, be suffering lung failure and be on life support through a ventilator. But those at the ExCel will be those needing less life support as they will be the ones with nothing else wrong with them,’ the doctor added.

Almost two thirds of patients who fall seriously ill from coronavirus are obese and nearly 40 per cent are under the age of 60, an NHS audit has revealed.

Sixty-three per cent of patients in intensive care in UK hospitals because of the killer virus are overweight, obese or morbidly obese.

While the average age of people suffering the most serious symptoms of coronavirus is 64, 37 per cent are under the age of 60.

The Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre analysed all admissions to critical care units in the UK up until midnight last Thursday. 

The ExCeL London Centre is being refitted to take hundreds of beds with oxygen and ventilators as the number of cases in Britain continues to grow.

As the hospital prepares to open, grim pictures show the inside of the makeshift hospital’s refrigerated mortuary.  

The hospital is due to open this week, just as work has begun to transform the Welsh rugby stadium into a 500-bed hospital for coronavirus patients.

NHS Nightingale Hospital London has pulled NHS workers from across the country and has space for up to 4,000 beds. It is expected to open this week and will be the first of Britain’s temporary hospitals to open in response to the coronavirus pandemic

A refrigerated mortuary at the Excel centre as it prepares to reopen as the Nightingale hospital this week. The temporary centre will treater lower-risk Covid-19 patients from around London

The rugby union stadium in Wales is the latest venue to be turned into a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients, with Parc y Scarlets expected to be operational in two weeks and provide up to 500 extra beds. 

The beds in Llanelli are in addition to around 2,000 which are set to be installed at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff as Wales prepares itself for the peak of the pandemic.

The Welsh locations will join others being be built inside UK venues including the SEC in Glasgow, Manchester Central Convention Complex, Birmingham’s NEC and the new NHS Nightingale hospital at ExCel in London. 

Speaking last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘In the face of this unprecedented global emergency, we are taking exceptional steps to increase NHS capacity so we can treat more patients, fight the virus and save lives.

‘I applaud the NHS, engineers, and the military for their continued work on setting up the new NHS Nightingale Hospital so it is ready to open its doors next week – a remarkable feat in these challenging circumstances.’

Yesterday (Monday), it was revealed that half of Covid-19 patients to be admitted to intensive care had died. 

Of the 165 people treated in critical care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since the end of February, 79 died and 86 were discharged, data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) shows. 

A further 610 patients were included in the data, but they remain in hospital, according to The Guardian.  

The National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham will treat non-urgent patients without Covid-19 to ease pressure on hospitals around the West Midlands 

The National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham is also being converted to a Nightingale Hospital, however it will only treat non-serious patients who do not have Covid-19.

The thinking behind the move is to free up space and ease pressure on the West Midlands’ NHS hospitals.

It is thought the centre will open with 500 beds, with space to house 2,000 should demand grow.

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