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.
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.”