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BDP confirms design role in NHS Nightingale, Harrogate

As part of the national effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the unprecedented challenge to convert large event venues into emergency hospitals has been undertaken across the UK.

BDP has helped deliver the NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber hospital in Harrogate, which entailed converting the 10,253 sqm Harrogate Convention Centre (HCC) in North Yorkshire into a temporary 500 bed level three critical care field hospital for COVID-19 patients. An official opening will take place today (Tuesday 21 April) and will be attended via video link by guest of honour, war veteran, Captain Tom Moore who has raised over £20m for the NHS.

In order to create the specialist hospital, we worked under main contractor BAM and collaborated with clinicians, consultants, contractors and the British Army on site to deliver this emergency facility in phases, the first of which completed the weekend of Saturday 11 April.

The exhibition halls vary in shape, size and location requiring bed bay configuration plans and ward facilities to be adjusted for each floor and our clinical planners have been instrumental in tackling these challenges. The whole process has taken two weeks.

Architect director Mihalis Walsh said “These hospitals are a result of exceptional collaboration in truly unprecedented circumstances. People are all too aware of the need for these projects to be completed in the time allocated and all of our teams have been working tirelessly to ensure that this happens.”

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP said “I have been incredibly impressed by the sheer dedication, professionalism and altruism of everyone involved in setting up NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber – from the NHS clinical staff and engineers to the construction workers and military planners.

It’s an honour to be asked to open this hospital alongside Captain Tom Moore. During this worrying and difficult time for our whole country his phenomenal achievement has reminded us of our common bonds and served to further unite us.

My heartfelt thanks also goes out to all the staff who will be working on the ground, providing extra capacity for patients if local hospitals need it."

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The NHS Nightingale instruction manual we published last week displays the fit-out strategies and processes used at the ExCeL centre and offers guidance for the construction of other locations. The key to the rapid progress of these types of projects is having a clear concept and a rigorous approach to procurement and construction. To deliver this number of equipped beds in emergency conditions requires all teams to make rapid decisions so design and construction could take place in parallel.