Cumbrian firm suggests way to create new NHS facilities within weeks

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As the Government prepares for a period of unprecedented strain on the NHS and battles to cope with the coronavirus one Cumbrian company has highlighted a possible way to ease pressure on hospital beds and resources.

Extra wards, medical units and isolation pods could be deployed on hospital sites within weeks using the technology normally associated with the entertainment industry and large sporting events, according to Airclad which has its warehouse facility near Penrith.

The company creates unique semi-permanent architectural structures that have been deployed all over the world. AirClad already has had discussions with the NHS and key suppliers about supplying semi-permanent medical units on hospital sites before the Covid-19 crisis.

Airclad Director of Communications Simon Coulter said: “The Government has warned us that the peak of this crisis might be 10-14 weeks away and that the pressures that will build on the NHS will be huge with increasing demand for intensive care beds and isolation facilities.

“We can see from what’s happening in Italy what kind of strain that will put on the health service so we wanted to reach out to the NHS to highlight how our industry might be able to use its expertise to help in this crisis.”

 “We have had discussions for around 18 months with the NHS and some of its key suppliers about helping with rapid deployed wards, so hopefully we can use make this technology available when our health service needs it the most

“We have a number of structures available that could be used to create medical units or 20 bed wards as well as smaller pods that can provide a way to quickly offer isolation facilities. Together they offer a very agile solution and can be up and running within weeks or – in the case of the smaller pods – within hours,” he added.

Airclad has already developed designs during its earlier discussions with the NHS for facilities to house patients recovering from medical treatments as well as providing nursing accommodation, office space and reception and social space with restrooms.

It believes the designs are flexible enough to help with the immediate demand for more treatment spaces and wards.

The company also has sleeping pods which can accommodate between one and four people which would be suitable for emergency treatment rooms, or isolation and recovery bedrooms.

Previously Airclad has used them at various events around the world including creating a pop-up hotel near Glastonbury which included a central hub and sleeping accommodation for up to 800 people.

It has begun to explore other uses for its technology and is currently trialling a project in Chester in which it is providing a facility for the city’s homeless.

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