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Photograph: Shutterstock/Vudi Xhymshiti
Photograph: Shutterstock/Vudi Xhymshiti

NHS Nightingale was opened by Prince Charles (via video link) this morning

By
Kate Lloyd
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Now that Charlie Prince of Wales Windsor has recovered a bit from his bout of Covid-19, hes back to royal business. And the biggest order of today? Opening the NHS Nightingale Hospital thats been built at the ExCel centre over the past two weeks. 

The heir to throne dialled in via Zoom from Birkhall, his home in Scotland on the Balmoral estate, where he has been recovering from the virus. Hes the first member of the Royal Family to launch something via video call. 

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, and Matt Hancock, health secretary, also spoke at the launch. And Natalie Grey, head of nursing at NHS Nightingale, unveiled a plaque – on behalf of Charles – to mark the opening and the effort many workers and volunteers have put in. 

Members of the army and St John Ambulance have been putting in 15-hour shifts to pull off the transformation from conference centre to 4,000-bed hospital. Photos show it looking totally different to a few weeks ago. Its staffed by NHS doctors and nurses as well as volunteers from St John Ambulance and airline cabin crew. 

It is without doubt a spectacular and almost unbelievable feat of work in every sense, from its speed of construction – in just nine days as we’ve heard – to its size and the skills of those who have created it, said the Prince of Wales. An example, if ever one was needed, of how the impossible could be made possible and how we can achieve the unthinkable through human will and ingenuity.’

Charles’s tribute to the work put in by NHS staff and the many volunteers comes after Brits gathered at their windows to #ClapForOurCarers last night. It was a heartfelt tribute from a man who’s been one of the lucky few to get tested for coronavirus – a privilege many NHS workers haven’t had so far.

We cant wait to see this in a distant-future series of The Crown

See pictures of the Excel centre’s transformation into the Nightingale Hospital in just under a fortnight.

See London’s landmarks totally empty during lockdown 

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