A chance to find out more about the NHS Nightingale Hospital on our doorstep

Photo of paramedics, ambulance teams, army personnel and hospital staff standing in front of NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol.
Paramedics, ambulance teams, army personnel and hospital staff stand in front of NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol.

The Stokes area proudly hosts one of the UK’s seven temporary NHS Nightingale Hospitals set up in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and local residents are now being offered the chance to learn more about how it was conceived and constructed via a unique live online event.

Located in the University of the West of England’s Exhibition and Conference Centre (ECC), within the parish of Stoke Gifford, the 300-bed NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol was constructed in less than three weeks at the start of ‘lockdown’ in April 2020.

The expert panel discussion, part of UWE’s Distinguished Address Series, takes place on Wednesday 14th October, when members of the public can tune in virtually to view the event.

The panel is to be made up of vice-chancellor Steve West as well as senior members of the NHS and staff from construction and infrastructure firm Kier.

The round table discussion will explore what building the hospital involved and is to highlight the dedication, hard work and agile response from all involved and how this was central to the construction project’s successful completion in such a short time. It is to include the following panel members:

  • Professor Steve West CBE, Vice-Chancellor, President and Chief Executive Officer, UWE Bristol
  • Marie-Noelle Orzel, Chief Officer, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol
  • Tim Whittlestone, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol
  • David Snell, Operations Director, Kier
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NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol was a collaborative project across a wide range of organisations and companies. It required a highly effective team effort involving UWE Bristol staff, the Army, the NHS and the contractors, Kier, who often worked 12 hours a day.

After only 20 days’ work, the temporary hospital was officially opened on 27th April after the ECC was converted into a 300-bed medical facility to provide extra beds if local services needed them. The hospital was seen as vital in helping support NHS efforts with the Covid-19 pandemic and supporting the local community and wider region at an exceptionally challenging time.

After going into standby mode at the end of June, the Bristol Nightingale Hospital is now being set up as ‘winter ready.’ Initially the lecture theatre in the hospital is to be used for storage so that equipment and stores can be safely moved inside from the temporary marquees outside the hospital.

UWE Bristol vice-chancellor Professor Steve West said:

“Although we hoped it would never be required, the fact that we have been host to such an important part of the UK’s fight against Covid-19 is a source of great pride to our staff and students. The NHS have our full support for this next phase, and we will continue to work very closely with NHS colleagues across the region to determine how the facility will change and adapt for any future use.”

Those interested in watching the panel discussion on 14th October must register in advance via bit.ly/nightingale-talk. From 6.25pm they can then join the talk online, which takes place from 6.30pm to 8pm and will include a Q&A session.

This article originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on page 24). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

Update: Recording now available

Added 21st October 2020.

A recording of last week’s panel discussion about the building of the NHS Nightingale Hospital at UWE is now available on SoundCloud:

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