Coronavirus: Adnec to waive costs for London mega-hospital NHS Nightingale

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The owners of ExCeL London will cover the cost of running the centre after it was turned into a huge pop-up hospital.

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company said it would not charge Britain's National Health Service rent – and has offered to cover running costs.

ExCeL was turned into one of the world's largest hospitals in the past two weeks – named NHS Nightingale – with 4,000 beds in 80 wards.

The decision was made after projections that the capital would need thousands of hospital beds for Londoners diagnosed with Covid-19, the condition caused by the coronavirus.

The initial agreement with the NHS included contribution to some operational fixed costs. We have since decided to cover the operational costs ourselves

Jeremy Rees, chief executive at ExCeL London

An article in The Sunday Times claimed the NHS would have to pay between £2 million (Dh9m / US$2.4m) and £3m per month in rent.

Adnec clarified it was not going to charge rent, but wanted to have the cost of running the huge facility covered. Adnec will now pay for the running costs.

Jeremy Rees, chief executive at ExCeL London, said: “The use of ExCeL London for NHS Nightingale London has always been provided to the NHS rent free. We joined the national effort to combat coronavirus immediately, and worked in close partnership with the NHS to ensure this hospital could be up and running in a matter of days.

“The initial agreement with the NHS included contribution to some operational fixed costs. We have since decided to cover the operational costs ourselves.

“The ExCeL London facility is fully available to the NHS, and we are here to support all their needs and requirements during this crisis.

The new NHS Nightingale Hospital, built to fight against the spread of coronavirus, in London. Courtesy: Reuters

Contractors and members of the armed forces help to build the new NHS Nightingale Hospital. Courtesy: Reuters

Vital use is being made of the spacious exhibition centre. Courtesy: Reuters

Members of the Queen's Ghurka Engineers Regiment have been enlisted for the task of turning an exhibition space into a medical facility. Courtesy EPA

A member of the Queen's Ghurka Engineers Regiment helps to build the new NHS Nightingale Hospital. Courtesy Reuters

Members of the Queen's Ghurka Engineers Regiment, 36 Engineer Regiment, help to build the new NHS Nightingale Hospital. REUTERS

Soldiers from 1 Royal Anglian Regiment gt to work on constructing the emergency hospital. Courtesy EPA

Soldiers from 1 Royal Anglian Regiment arrive at the Excel Centre to build the new NHS Nightingale Hospital. Courtesy Reuters

Soldiers from 1 Royal Anglian Regiment assist with the construction of the new NHS Nightingale Hospital. Courtesy Reuters

Members of the Queen's Ghurka Engineers Regiment lend a vital helping hand to efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy Reuters

ExCel London is being transformed into a 4,000-bed field hospital. Courtesy: Reuters

Soldiers from 1 Royal Anglian Regiment arrive at the Excel Centre to build the new NHS Nightingale Hospital. Courtesy Reuters

Metropolitan Police officers stand outside the new NHS Nightingale Hospital at ExCeL London. Courtesy Getty Images

“I’ve seen first-hand the fantastic work that NHS Nightingale London is doing to save lives and respond to the largest national emergency the UK has faced in a generation. It is a privilege to support the NHS and its wonderful staff working tirelessly night and day to protect people and save lives.”

Nightingale Hospital was named after Florence Nightingale, who is regarded as one of the founders of modern nursing. Similar hospitals are being set up in cities including Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow to handle thousands of virus patients, if needed.

In the UK, more than 41,000 cases have been confirmed and 4,300 people have died from Covid-19.

Coronavirus outbreak

Humaid Al Dhaheri, manager director of Adnec, said: “We are doing all that we can to help the UK through these challenging times. To be clear, profit has always been the furthest thing from our minds.

"The venue was offered rent free from the initial conversation with the NHS, and Adnec Group will ensure the ExCeL London partnership comes at no cost to the NHS.

“It is our firm commitment that we will not charge a penny for the use of our facilities, and we will provide the NHS with the operational and logistical support it needs for NHS Nightingale London.

“We stand in solidarity with Britain in facing this crisis together, as friends and partners.”

Updated: April 5, 2020 03:52 PM

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