NHS Nightingale Hospital North West in Manchester will be equipped and staffed to receive up to 750 coronavirus patients from across the region within the next week, say health bosses.
The temporary hospital at Manchester Central conference centre will treat those who do not need intensive care, but still require treatment.
Construction started on Saturday March 28 and the entire main central hall of the former passenger rail station, 10,000 square metres in total, has been designated as bed space.
NHS staff have been working day and night, along with experts from the military, social care, local government and charities, to create the hospital in what has been hailed as an “incredible feat”.
The site will be staffed by consultants, junior doctors, nurses, healthcare support workers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, occupational therapists, social workers and a huge range of non-clinical support workers and administrators.
A recruitment campaign was launched at the weekend and has attracted “hundreds of expressions of interest”, says NHS England.
Health chiefs are targeting NHS workers who have left or taken a break from their profession for any reason in the last three years, or are part of the temporary workforce across the NHS.
There are also a large number of non-clinical roles available with no need for healthcare qualifications.
Jackie Bird, chief nurse for NHS England and NHS Improvement North West, said: “The Nightingale programme, together with the rest of the coronavirus response, really shows what the NHS and its partners can achieve when it pulls all the stops out.
“It’s been very heartening to see so many people and different organisations pulling together to create an entire hospital in the space of a fortnight to care for our population.
“It’s an incredible feat.
“Hospitals in the region have done a great job of ramping up capacity to care for coronavirus patients, and the NHS Nightingale North West will give us additional beds should they be needed.
“But of course we actually want to be treating as few people as possible here which is why we are continuing to ask people in the North West to stay home to save lives.”
Sir Richard Leese, deputy mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “We are proud and delighted that Manchester Central has been transformed into this vital part of the fight against coronavirus and will serve the whole of the North West.
“It is testament to the can-do attitude of all involved that a couple of weeks has seen the incredible change from conference hall to hospital, and it is humbling to witness the partnership across the NHS, the military and the venue bring this to life.”