Northern Ireland

Coronavirus: City Hospital staff to use Methodist College facilities

City Hospital staff requested use of the school's changing and shower rooms Image copyright Getty
Image caption City Hospital staff requested use of the school's changing and shower rooms

Staff at Belfast City Hospital will use facilities at nearby Methodist College in Belfast (MCB) during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 1,800-pupil school is a near the hospital on the opposite side of Belfast's Lisburn Road.

The City Hospital's tower block is Northern Ireland's first Nightingale hospital.

The Belfast Trust said it had accepted an offer from the school for healthcare staff to use its facilities.

St Malachy's College on the Antrim Road in Belfast has made similar arrangements for staff at the nearby Mater hospital.

Methodist College was founded in 1868 and is one of Northern Ireland's largest schools.

It occupies an extensive site between Belfast's Malone and Lisburn roads.

Like schools across Northern Ireland, the college is closed to most pupils, but has remained open to care for a few children of key workers and vulnerable children.

However, the numbers of children who need care has been relatively small, with Department of Education figures showing that 821 children were admitted to 404 schools on Tuesday.

Any children at MCB will not come into contact with healthcare workers as they will only to use specific facilities and areas of the large campus.

MCB's headmaster, Scott Naismith, said that after the school had made the offer, City Hospital staff had requested use of the school's changing and shower rooms.

Many schools across Northern Ireland have donated Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) used in subjects like Chemistry or Technology and Design to the NHS or care homes, while some have manufactured PPE visors.

Ulster University had previously made 72 rooms at Duncreggan Student Village on its Magee campus in Derry to health service staff who cannot return home when working due to Covid-19.