Gruelling reality of working on front line at Nightingale Hospital

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In the space of just two weeks, Manchester Central Convention Complex was transformed into a huge field hospital for hundreds of coronavirus patients.

Site Manager Steve Francis and his team from Interserve, worked around the clock to ensure the NHS Nightingale Hospital North West, was up and running in time to welcome its first patients.

Steve, a former Royal Marine and retired firefighter from Maghull, said his military training has definitely been put into practice during the operations at the hospital, which continue to be a "huge team effort."

Steve was given the "emotional" job of transporting the first patient – Marjorie Carter, aged 84, from Levenshulme, into the hospital when it opened its doors on April 13.

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Since then, the hospital has welcomed a steady stream of coronavirus patients, the majority of which are in the process of being "stepped-down" from ICU and critical care beds at neighbouring hospitals.

The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West

Steve told the ECHO: "Everyone was so focused in those first two weeks to get the hospital open.

"They were really long hours. It was hard work but it was a huge team effort.

"Me and my team are still working 14 hour days now, to make sure everything is running smoothly.

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"As site manager I've had to make sure there's running water for the medical staff and there's enough pipes for all the oxygen tanks."

He added: "I also manage things like the security of the building and the catering and cleaning.

"My military training has been incredibly helpful and has guided my approach."

Steve said the majority of patients who have been admitted to the new hospital so far with the virus, are in the recovery stage but staff are prepared if there is another spike.

He added: "It was emotional bringing the first patient into the hospital."

Marjorie Carter, aged 84, was transferred to the hospital from Manchester Royal Infirmary and spent four days at Nightingale recuperating before being discharged to a care home for initial rehabilitation.

She is now back home and being supported by community social care services.

Marjorie said: “I was treated like Royalty, everyone was very kind.

"The nurses all came to say goodbye as I was leaving. I want people to know how good the Nightingale is.”

Steven said he believes that once other hospitals begin opening again to patients for certain operations and treatment, coronavirus patients will be moved from there to the Nightingale.

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