Coronavirus: Capt Tom Moore opens Harrogate NHS Nightingale hospital" width="976" height="549">
The 99-year-old was guest of honour at the virtual opening ceremony of the Nightingale hospital in Yorkshire
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Asked about opening the new hospital, Capt Tom said: "It's one of those things you never think would ever happen."">
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How Harrogate's Convention Centre was converted into a hospital in under three weeks.
He told BBC Breakfast: "For me to be opening a new hospital in Harrogate is outstanding."All the people in that area have done so well to produce a new hospital in such a short time." The veteran, who was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, originally aimed to raise">
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Watch as Capt Tom Moore completes his 100th lap
NHS England said the hospital had opened less than three weeks after work started and would provide extra beds if local services needed them.The opening was conducted by video link in line with social distancing policies.Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "It's an honour to be asked to open this hospital alongside Captain Tom Moore. "During this worrying and difficult time for our whole country his phenomenal achievement has reminded us of our common bonds and served to further unite us."
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Nightingale hospitals have been announced for London, Birmingham, Manchester, Harrogate, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast.Steve Russell, chief executive of the new hospital in Harrogate, said the facility was a "vital insurance policy, which we hope will not be needed". He said: "The most important thing remains for the public to continue to follow expert advice and stay at home - reducing the number of people who get the virus, and therefore the need for NHS treatment."
The construction of the hospital required more than 7m litres of oxygen
NHS England said it had also freed up more than 33,000 beds around the country, the equivalent of 50 new hospitals.A deal has also been struck with the independent hospital sector to provide 8,000 extra beds, as well as staff and equipment, it added.
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Coronavirus pandemic
NHS Nightingale Hospitals
Captain Tom Moore
Matthew Hancock
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