As the first Nightingale Hospital in the UK opens its doors to patients, logistics expert Dr Jonathan Owens looks at how the facility, possibly the most ambitious medical project since the Second World War, will be managed.
Dr Owens said: “The Nightingale Hospital in London will have an operational capacity to manage 4000 Covid-19 patients across 2 wards. Managing the operational capacity for this hospital is different to a typical hospital, as it is managing is a very large single dedicated facility, that requires support of large scale specialised medical skills.
“There will be 16k staff running this facility, if it is at maximum capacity this will is 4:1 staff/patient ratio. However, this ratio will probably be significantly more as specialised nursing staff will be only one part of this total number, this is why they will be using 'smart operation's to maximise out and sustain capacity levels.
“There are fundamental underlying considerations of operational capacity and smart operations management. Managing the day to day emergency Covid-19 case operational capacity will be continuously tested, particularly as there is nothing to compare against when planning the upscaling to manage and sustain the operations of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of this size.
“The UK has fewer registered doctors and nurses per head than any developed economy bar Poland. The Nightingale hospital will be calling on specialist medical staff, therefore due to the size of the facility, smart operations, such as autonomous working, may be required to manage the patient care.
“Regrettably due to the speed of the virus this facility will probably go into operation untested, however, valuable operational planning lessons will be learnt for the other facilities going up around the country.”