Two new temporary hospitals will be set up to help cope with the coronavirus crisis, the head of the NHS in England has said.
Sir Simon Stevens said the new hospitals will be built at Birmingham’s NEC and the Manchester conference centre and will be ready next month.
A hospital being set up in London’s ExCeL centre will be available for use next week, it was announced.
Sir Simon told a daily news briefing “further such hospitals” would follow.
The BBC has seen an internal Ministry of Defence document giving more details about military plans to build the temporary hospitals.
Listed as phase one, London’s ExCeL centre in the capital’s docklands, will have capacity of between 4,000 and 5,000 beds and will open next week.
Phase two is a temporary hospital for England and Wales at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, with a capacity for 5,000 beds, and will open in mid-April.
The third phase is a 1,000-bed facility at the Manchester Central Conference Centre (formerly the GMEX Centre) and will also open in mid-April.
Sir Steven said the “NHS is making an extraordinary effort” to ensure there is care for the “patients who need looking after”.
“As of today across England, we have reconfigured hospital services so that 33,000 hospital beds are available to treat further coronavrius patients.
“It is also why we are taking the extraordinary action to build new hospitals in very short order, starting with the NHS Nightingale hospital in east London.”
He said because this a problem “not confined to London”, but across the whole country, “I have given the go-ahead to the building of two further NHS Nightingale hospitals… with further such hospitals to follow.”