Preston Sports centre earmarked for overspill hospital

Sports halls in the middle of Preston have been earmarked for an overspill hospital to for recovering Covid-19 patients

Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 9:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 10:00 am
The Army has been drafted in to help build an overspill field hospital at UCLan

The Army has already moved into prepare the ground for the mini Nightingale-style facility at the will be housed at UCLan's Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre on the main Marsh Lane campus

Work is underway to create a temporary 150-bed community recovery centre but it’ll only be activated if required, to help ease the burden at the Royal Preston Hospital in nearby Fulwood is the pandemic escalates.

Experts say it t may not be needed but it’s being prepared " just in case" .

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If required, the facility will allow the NHS to provide extra community beds to support the care sector and older people who cannot currently be discharged back home – and free up acute beds for those who need them most.

Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods asked the army to start preparing the site over the Easter weekend but no formal decision about its use has been made by the NHS yet.

DCC Terry Woods said: "It’s the Lancashire Resilience Forum’s role to ensure that the county is fully prepared to deal with the peak of the coronavirus and extra capacity for the NHS is one of the things we have been scoping. It may never be required, but we must be prepared in case it is needed.

"We have looked at different sites across the county and believe the one at the University offers the facilities we need to create the additional space for patients to recover after a hospital stay."

He added: "We are grateful to the university for allowing us to use the centre and to the military who will be working over the Easter weekend to clear the site so it is ready if and when the NHS make a decision to use this space. We want to be prepared to support them as soon as required, so this work is vital in ensuring that we are.”

UCLan vice chancellor Graham Baldwin said: "The University of Central Lancashire is pleased to be working closely with the Lancashire Resilience Forum and the military and has identified our Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre to serve as a patient recovery centre should additional bed capacity be required by the NHS in Lancashire.

" We can do this due to the capacity on campus created by our students undertaking their learning online and remotely, and being in the heart of Lancashire this facility is the ideal choice."

The sported facilitate came into its own last summer when it was transformed to hose thousands of student and their families as a graduation ceremony venue following the sudden losure of the Guild Hall