NHS Nightingale: How we built a hospital in 10 days

1 NHS Nightingale Hospital - BDP

As the first patients arrive at London’s coronavirus surge hospital, BDP’s James Hepburn tells Elizabeth Hopkirk how they designed it

Late one March evening, a few days before Boris Johnson would tell the over-70s to isolate themselves, James Hepburn sat down with a beer in front of his computer for a Skype catch-up with his best mate, Matt.

The pair, both in their 40s, have been going on holiday for years, their kids are friends and their partners are both anaesthetists who met at medical school. In fact Matt is a doctor too – he is Matthew Shaw, an orthopaedic surgeon and the chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

So it wasn’t long before the chat turned to the growing coronavirus crisis and the alarming statistics coming out of Italy. “Matt started outlining where the shortages of beds in London were and what they were looking at. It was very interesting,” recalls Hepburn, an engineer and principal at BDP.

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