Coronavirus: Fully working ventilators from BBC hospital drama donated to NHS | UK News

Fully working ventilators from the set of Holby City have been donated to London’s makeshift coronavirus hospital.

The BBC revealed the devices have been delivered to NHS Nightingale, the temporary 4,000-bed facility treating COVID-19 patients at the capital’s ExCeL Centre.

It was not immediately clear how many ventilators had been donated, or why working medical equipment was used on set of the fictional medical drama.

Holby City executive producer Simon Harper said: “We are only too happy to help out and do what we can for the courageous and selfless real-life medics.”

It was revealed last month that the makers of Holby City and fellow BBC drama Casualty were in talks about donating medical kit to help the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many NHS staff have warned they do not have enough protective equipment to guard themselves as they treat patients.

Producers of the two shows – which have seen production halted due to COVID-19 – said they were in discussions with local services to work out how equipment used on set can be put to use.

The UK has faced a shortage of ventilators, with just 8,000 in NHS hospitals, but Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove announced last week that hundreds more are being manufactured in the country each day.

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NHS Nightingale was built in just nine days at the ExCeL Centre site in the capital’s Docklands, in Newham, east London.

The BBC ventilators were donated there as Holby City is made in the South East, even though it is set in a fictional West Country city.

There are also Nightingale hospitals in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Harrogate, with two more announced on Friday on Wearside and in Exeter.

Timelapse: The transformation of ExCeL centre

The BBC’s gesture is the latest in a national outpouring of gratitude to NHS staff risking their lives to fight coronavirus.

On Thursday, the country once again united for a nationwide round of applause for workers on the front line.

It came as the deaths of another 980 coronavirus patients were confirmed in the UK on Friday – surpassing Spain and Italy’s worst recorded daily totals.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a total of 8,958 people with COVID-19 have now died in UK hospitals.

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