A new hospital will open in London to provide support for thousands more patients with coronavirus with capacity  potentially for several thousand beds, should it be required.

The NHS Nightingale Hospital, London, will be ready for use from next week. The hospital, based at the ExCeL conference centre in East London, will initially provide up to 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “Under these exceptionally challenging circumstances the NHS is taking extraordinary steps to fight coronavirus. That’s why NHS clinicians and managers are working with military planners and engineers to create, equip, staff and open the NHS Nightingale London, and we’re very grateful for their support.

“This will be a model of care never needed or seen before in this country, but our specialist doctors are in touch with their counterparts internationally who are also opening facilities like this, in response to the shared global pandemic."

Military medics will also tend to COVID-19 patients

Military personnel have been involved in the planning stages and continue to support NHS England by providing infrastructure, logistics and project management advice.

The ExCeL London Centre is being refitted to take hundreds of beds with oxygen and ventilators.

The NHS Nightingale Hospital will draw nurses, doctors and other staff from across the health service, as well as a number of military medics will also tend to patients. The majority will be NHS staff.