Health Minister visits Northern Ireland’s first Nightingale Hospital

Date published: 07 April 2020

The Health Minister Robin Swann has today toured the facilities and met staff at Northern Ireland’s first Nightingale Hospital in the tower block of Belfast City Hospital.

Health Minister Robin Swann and Chief Nursing Officer Charlotte McArdle have visited the new facilities at Northern Ireland’s Nightingale hospital.

The new regional unit, staffed by a team drawn from across Northern Ireland, is a key part of surge plans drawn up to cope with the expected increase in patients affected by Covid-19 symptoms.

The Minister said: “We are radically and rapidly reshaping our hospital network, to prepare services for the Covid-19 surge. That includes transforming the City Hospital Tower Block into a Nightingale hospital.

“There has been a tremendous amount of work undertaken at great pace to make the necessary infrastructure alterations within the tower block, and I want to thank healthcare staff and those companies and organisations who responded so quickly and effectively to make this transformation possible.

“For those Covid-19 patients who will be transferred to the Nightingale Hospital, I have no doubt that you will receive the highest standard of care from our outstanding health professionals.”

The Department can confirm that Northern Ireland’s health system has now increased its total of mechanical ventilators used in critical care to 197. Further substantial orders are in place for additional ventilators and a wide range of devices capable of providing respiratory support.

The Minster said: “Currently across health and social care in Northern Ireland there is sufficient capacity, equipment and oxygen to provide critical care for those who need it. We have additional ventilators on order to meet our estimated clinical care need of 400 ventilated clinical care beds. And there are another 500 respiratory devices on order that can support patients before or after critical care.”

The Minister concluded: “In order to ensure that our health and social care system can provide the care that every patient needs, it is vital that everyone across Northern Ireland continues to work together to stop the transmission of Covid-19 by staying at home to protect services and each other.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Department of Health surge plans also include the development of further critical care capacity at Altnagelvin and Ulster Hospital sites as part of phased approach to the surge plan.
  2. For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health Press Office For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Office on 02890 378110 and your call will be returned.
  3. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

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