Coronavirus: Birmingham temporary hospital operational within days

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image captionThe site will initially have a 500-bed capacity which can be scaled up if needed.

The Nightingale Hospital being built at the Birmingham NEC will be open and fully operational on 12 April, senior regional health chiefs have said.

Practice runs begin on 10 April, with doors opening to patients two days later.

The site, on the outskirts of Birmingham, will initially have a 500-bed capacity which can be scaled up to about 1,500 or more if needed.

Nightingale hospitals are emergency sites to treat coronavirus patients.

An NHS Nightingale Hospital in London was formally opened at the ExCel centre on Friday by the Prince of Wales.

Nick Page, of the West Midlands and Warwickshire strategic co-ordination group (SCG), said: "The 10th of April is when the Birmingham Nightingale Hospital will be ready to see patients.

"As I understand it, they will be running the mock up of that on 10 April ready to start full admission in and around the 12 April."

Speaking at a webinar of regional chiefs, Mr Page, who is Solihull Council chief executive, added Birmingham's first drive-through Covid-19 testing station for NHS workers is being set up at Edgbaston cricket ground, and will be fully operational by Monday.

It follows the announcement made last Friday by Sir Simon Stevens that Manchester and Birmingham would host the new temporary hospitals, while earlier on Friday, Bristol and Harrogate were named as further locations for Nightingale hospitals.

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