The new NHS Nightingale London hospital is due to open this week.
The hospital is starting with a capacity of 500 ICU beds with the potential to increase to 4,000 beds if the need arises.
The NHS is planning to operate a two-tier plan where older and seriously ill patients will stay at existing sites with the new Nightingale hospital focusing on treating previously fit and healthy people who have contracted COVID-19.
Patients in need of intensive care but with a high chance of survival will be taken to the Nightingale.
Patients with underlying conditions will be kept in their current hospital or taken to a normal NHS hospital to be cared for.
A senior doctor with knowledge of the two-tier plan, speaking to the Guardian said:
“There is a two-tier system but it’s a medically appropriate two-tier system.”
“The sick will go to the ExCel and the very sick will stay in hospital, because that’s an appropriate use of NHS resources.”
“Anyone who goes to either place will be critically ill, be suffering lung failure and be on life support through a ventilator. But those at the ExCel will be those needing less life support as they will be the ones with nothing else wrong with them.”
The nightingale is essentially a large critical care unit and will not have any back-up services like regular hospitals.
A look inside