O2 Arena to become training facility for NHS Nightingale London staff

The O2 Arena in London is set to serve as a training facility for frontline workers who will be treating coronavirus patients at the NHS Nightingale hospital.

Constructed at the ExCeL centre, the temporary hospital houses over 80 wards and has the capacity for 4,000 COVID-19 patients. Its first admissions arrived there on Tuesday (April 7), just two weeks after it was announced to the public.

Today (April 9), it was confirmed that London’s O2 will open its doors to train NHS workers from this Sunday (April 12) until June 29. The arena closed on March 16 following official advice issued by the UK government.

A statement explains that the NHS will be using the space as an educational training facility to prepare staff who will go on to work at NHS Nightingale. No patients will be treated at the venue.

The O2 clarified that they would not be charging the NHS for using of the building. Last week, ExCeL owner Jeremy Rees U-turned on his initial decision to request the health service contributed to “some fixed costs.”

Late last month, the O2 Arena was just one of many UK landmarks to light up blue in support of the NHS’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus. Also taking part was Olympia London, Milton Keynes’ Stadium MK and The Brighton Centre.

Meanwhile, there are also plans in place for NHS Nightingale hospitals to open in Bristol, Harrogate, Birmingham, and Manchester.

Earlier today, tour bus company Vans For Bands vowed to lend their entire fleet to NHS Hospitals for frontline workers to use during the coronavirus pandemic. So far, their offer has been accepted by Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital, Hillingdon Hospital in west London and the Whittington Health NHS Trust in north London.