Manchester Central, the planned venue for BSGE ASM 2020, has been converted into a temporary hospital. The conference venue has been repurposed to help the NHS cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Society cancelled ASM 2020 because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Sanjay Vyas, BSGE President announced the decision, saying:

Cancelling an event that would take away hundreds of healthcare professionals from the NHS at the time they may be greatly needed, is the right decision.

Manchester Central Convention Centre or GMEX covers190,000 square feet. Its vaulted arches and station clock have made Manchester Central an iconic city feature for over 130 years. The military were drafted in to convert the conference space into a hospital with up to 750 beds. The Central Hall of the conference centre has been divided into 18 wards, each containing 36 beds.

The Manchester Nightingale will start to accommodate coronavirus patients from next week, when the epidemic is predicted to peak. It will follow a different working model from the one in London’s ExCel Arena. It will treat patients as they begin their recovery from COVID-19, admitting people who are recently relocated from critical care. Equipment, drugs and specialist staff will be available to support respiration, when required. However, the focus will be on recovery and rehabilitation prior to discharge.

Jackie Bird, Chief Nurse for NHS England and NHS Improvement North West, told Medscape:

“The Nightingale programme, really shows what the NHS and its partners can achieve when it pulls all the stops out. It’s been very heartening to see so many people and different organisations pulling together to create an entire hospital in the space of a fortnight to care for our population. It’s an in-credible feat.”

Details about ASM 2021 will be announced in an upcoming edition of The Scope, which will also feature details of BSGE advice about safe minimally invasive surgery and COVID-19.