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Following the announcement that a new NHS Nightingale Hospital would open in East London, initially with up to 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen, two more vital hospitals are set to open in Birmingham and Manchester.

This move is designed to help care for thousands more patients with COVID-19 and help the healthcare system cope with the increasing numbers of people with the virus.

The hospital, based at the NEC in Birmingham, will start with up to 500 beds equipped with the capacity to increase beds up to 2,000 if needed. The hospital based at the Manchester Central Complex will provide up to 500 beds but could expand further to 1,000 beds for coronavirus patients across the North West of England.

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NHS England says these new hospitals will provide support for patients from across the Midlands and the North West.

Confirmation that the two new NHS Nightingale sites are going ahead came as NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens revealed that the NHS has freed up 33,000 beds across existing NHS hospitals for coronavirus patients – the equivalent of 50 new hospitals.

Sir Simon Stevens said: “It will take a monumental effort from everyone across the country to beat this epidemic, but the NHS is mobilising like never before to deliver care in new ways, to thousands more people – starting with the opening of the first NHS Nightingale in London later next week.

“These are extraordinary steps the NHS is taking, and clinicians, managers and military planners are working day and night to create, equip and staff these hospitals from scratch and prepare for the surge that is likely to be coming.

“While we continue to pull out all the stops, we do need the public to play their part. Every single person in this country can make a difference by following the medical advice to the letter – stay at home, wash your hands, which will help stop the virus letting rip and will therefore save lives.”

According to NHS England, the new hospitals will draw from predominantly NHS doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals from across the country. A number of military medics will be on hand to care for patients too.

Recently, the NHS struck a major deal with independent hospitals throughout the UK to urgently expand treatment capacity, which will see the health service gain thousands more beds, ventilators and healthcare staff in this time of need.

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