Coronavirus: Adnec to waive costs for London mega-hospital NHS Nightingale

Abu Dhabi-owned ExCeL centre will not charge rent and will cover running costs for 4,000-bed hospital

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: Work continues at the ExCel centre which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus on March 31, 2020 in London, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 41,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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The owners of ExCeL London will cover the cost of running the centre after it was turned into a huge pop-up hospital.

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company said it had not charged Britain's National Health Service rent and has offered to cover running costs.

ExCeL was turned into one of the world's largest hospitals, named NHS Nightingale, in the past two weeks with 4,000 beds in 80 wards.

Prince Charles reopens ExCel London as Nightingale hospital

Prince Charles reopens ExCel London as Nightingale hospital

The decision was made after projections that the capital would need thousands of hospital beds for Londoners diagnosed with Covid-19, the condition caused by the coronavirus.

The Sunday Times had reported that the NHS would have to pay between £2 million (Dh9m/US$2.4m) and £3m a month in rent.

The initial agreement with the NHS included contribution to some operational fixed costs. We have since decided to cover the operational costs ourselves

Adnec clarified it was not going to charge rent and will now pay for the running costs.

“The use of ExCeL London for NHS Nightingale has always been provided to the NHS rent-free," said Jeremy Rees, chief executive of ExCeL London.

"We joined the national effort to combat coronavirus immediately and worked in close partnership with the NHS to ensure this hospital could be up and running in a matter of days.

“The initial agreement with the NHS included contribution to some operational fixed costs. We have since decided to cover the costs ourselves.

“The ExCeL London facility is fully available to the NHS and we are here to support all their needs and requirements during this crisis.

“I’ve seen first-hand the fantastic work that NHS Nightingale London is doing to save lives and respond to the largest national emergency the UK has faced in a generation.

"It is a privilege to support the NHS and its wonderful staff working tirelessly night and day to protect people and save lives.”

Nightingale Hospital was named after Florence Nightingale, who is regarded as one of the founders of modern nursing.

Similar hospitals are being set up in cities including Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow to handle thousands of virus patients, if needed.

In the UK, more than 47,000 cases have been confirmed and 4,900 people have died from Covid-19.

“We are doing all that we can to help the UK through these challenging times," said Humaid Al Dhaheri, manager director of Adnec.

"To be clear, profit has always been the furthest thing from our minds.

"The venue was offered rent-free from the initial conversation with the NHS and Adnec Group will ensure the ExCeL London partnership comes at no cost to the NHS.

“It is our firm commitment that we will not charge a penny for the use of our facilities and we will provide the NHS with the operational and logistical support it needs for NHS Nightingale London.

“We stand in solidarity with Britain in facing this crisis together, as friends and partners.”