Status: Completed response

In 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic put increasing pressure on the NHS, three UK-Med experts joined the UK team leading the build of the Nightingale North West Hospital.

Constructed at the Manchester G-Mex, the field hospital was designed to care for hundreds of the region’s coronavirus patients. It was built in a matter of weeks during the first wave of the pandemic.

Our founder, Professor Tony Redmond, took on the role of Medical Director. David Anderson, UK-Med’s Humanitarian Health Adviser, was seconded for a month to be Director of Quality and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC). And Sarah Collis, our Health Programme Manager (Outbreak), joined them for two weeks to support with IPC and outbreak response.

The team brought significant expertise from working both in the NHS and emergency responses overseas. Their previous experience of dealing with disease outbreaks included Ebola in West Africa and measles in Samoa.

Combining expertise

The overall team included a mix of professionals from the NHS, the private sector and the army all working towards one objective.

There were multiple challenges with the site layout, timeframes, recruitment and equipment procurement. But the team had a high level of expertise and was able to open the hospital by mid-April, less than three weeks after work started.

You can watch a video from inside the hospital on BBC North West Tonight here.

Drawing on experience

David Anderson, nurse and UK-Med Humanitarian Health Advisor, said:

“The experience and expertise that we have gained from battling outbreaks of Ebola and SARS will be invaluable to beating coronavirus.

“That work has prepared me mentally for dealing with COVID-19 and it does help you understand how to respond, particularly in terms of preventative measures to protect health workers and the wider community.

“We can – and we will – beat this. We are proud to work with our colleagues in the NHS, as we have with our dedicated healthcare colleagues around the world, to provide the highest level of care to those affected.”

Hear more about David’s secondment here.

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