New NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber hospital opens up in Harrogate
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Based at the Harrogate Convention Centre, work started less than than three weeks ago on the facility, which will be used should local services require more help.
The new facility in King's Road is one of seven Nightingale hospitals to be set up around the country as part of a massive NHS effort to respond to what the service has called the "greatest global health emergency in more than a century".
It comes as a further 449 deaths from the disease were announced yesterday, bringing the UK total to 16,509. At least 1,130 have been in Yorkshire.
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These measures combined mean that capacity still exists in hospitals to care for patients with coronavirus, as well as other patients who may need urgent and emergency treatment, with the Nightingales standing ready if local services need them beyond that.
Captain Tom Moore has been invited to open the new hospital to honour his fundraising efforts on behalf of the NHS.
He will joined be Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, and chief executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens.
The opening will be conducted by video link in line with social distancing policies.
“Our doctors, nurses, therapists and other health and social care staff across Yorkshire and the Humber are working incredibly hard to make sure people get the care they need during what is the single greatest challenge in the history of the NHS, but they can’t do it alone.
“The most important thing remains for the public to continue to follow expert advice and stay at home - reducing the number of people who get the virus, and therefore the need for NHS treatment.”
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, said: “I have been incredibly impressed by the sheer dedication, professionalism and altruism of everyone involved in setting up NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber – from the NHS clinical staff and engineers to the construction workers and military planners.
“It’s an honour to be asked to open this hospital alongside Captain Tom Moore. During this worrying and difficult time for our whole country his phenomenal achievement has reminded us of our common bonds and served to further unite us.
“My heartfelt thanks also goes out to all the staff who will be working on the ground, providing extra capacity for patients if local hospitals need it. "
The NHS said that the official opening provides an opportunity to thank all those involved who have "pulled out all the stops" to ensure that capacity still exists to care for patients with coronavirus.