Mayor joins Prince William in official opening of Birmingham's NHS Nightingale Hospital

Here is the Mayor's speech at the official opening of Birmingham's NHS Nightingale Hospital which has been set up to take coronavirus patients from 23 Midlands hospitals.

"Today, on behalf of the residents of the West Midlands, I want to say a big “thank you” to everyone who has made Nightingale Birmingham happen. 

"To the team at the NEC group, used to working fast for Crufts or the Good Food Show but never for something like this - thank you. To the planners, builders, electricians, carpenters, caterers, and cleaners who have been brilliantly coordinated by local company Interserve - thank you. And of course to the army who have ensured this has all been achieved in under 10 days – an incredible feat - thank you. 

"I also want to especially thank NHS England and University Hospitals Birmingham for bringing this on stream, whilst fighting Coronavirus day in day out in your existing hospitals. And of course our gratitude goes to the doctors, nurses, technicians, and support staff from hospitals across the West Midlands who will be working here in weeks to come. 

"Most importantly though I want to thank you all for giving us hope, belief, and confidence in what we can achieve here in Birmingham and the West Midlands. That of course is what takes us back to the name Nightingale; 200 years on from her birth, she is remembered as a beacon of hope. It is therefore very fitting that in these testing times the word Nightingale is above the door of our new hospital. 

"This hospital is a symbol of our region’s unity and preparedness against the virus. It has been wonderful to be part of opening today to celebrate the hard work of so many, but I know that every citizen of the West Midlands will hope that it never has to be used in large numbers. It is in all of our hands to ensure that’s the case.

"Thank you." 

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