Althea played a key role at NHS Nightingale Hospital in the treatment of COVID-19 patients

Althea played an important role at NHS Nightingale Hospital in London thanks to specialist biomed engineers unpacking, building, testing and commissioning equipment.

Over the last two weeks Althea has played a key role at NHS Nightingale Hospital in London with specialist biomed engineers unpacking, building, testing and commissioning over 2750 pieces of equipment.

The lifesaving medical items, which were needed to treat COVID-19 patients, included 10 ventilators, 329 patient monitoring devices, 457 monitoring trolleys, 21 defibrillators and 198 infusion pumps.

Once everything was set up, commissioned and ready for use, each item had to be moved individually to the other side of the venue – a distance of 1km – where it was setup on each patient bay.

Gases such as oxygen and air were not available to test ventilation, so Althea’s Anaesthesia and Ventilation Specialist Manager Jeremy Wymer was able to source it for the hospital. The result of this being all ventilation was tested and bought back into service.

Althea engineers also helped advise the NHS procurement team sourcing vital equipment, which thanks to Althea’s intervention, 42 pumps were delivered within 2-4 days.

Another example of the lengths engineers went to support the hospital was when 200 patient monitoring systems were delivered at 5pm one evening on site by pallet.

The Trust needed 84 of the systems immediately so 12 Althea engineers stayed throughout the evening to commission, configure and setup the equipment within 3 hours. This was something that was recognised and greatly appreciated by both Nightingale Hospital and Barts Health NHS Trust.

David Rolfe, UK&I Chief Executive Officer at Althea: “Throughout this unprecedented time we have seen such an incredible response from the Althea team, and I am extremely proud of everyone involved.”

We have been responsive to a fast-moving situation, and engineers on site have gone over and above what was expected of them to support the NHS and clinicians onsite. It has been a fantastic team effort.”

In just nine days the ExCel exhibition centre in London’s Docklands area – usually used for large events – has been transformed into an emergency 4000 bed hospital to cope with patients affected by COVID-19.

NHS Nightingale Hospital London is the first of several Nightingale Hospitals planned in England including the University of the West of England in Bristol and the Harrogate Convention Centre. Others are due to be set up at Manchester’s Central Complex as well as Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre.

Althea has the largest constituency of biomed engineers on site at the Nightingale Hospital London providing support. The company are also currently engaging with other Nightingale hospital sites to see what help, advice and support Althea can offer the other sites across the UK.

Althea urge UK Trusts to contact them immediately if they have broken or disused ventilators

Althea is looking for all ventilators but primarily the following would be ideal with the current situation: ICU Ventilators, BIPAP Machines, Transport Ventilators, CPAP Machines and NIV Ventilators.

We have the capabilities to refurbish the much-needed lifesaving equipment and get it back into NHS circulation so it can be used operationally.

Government Ministers have been trying to boost the number of ventilators to increase the stock of just over 8,000 already available to the NHS. It is estimated as many as 20,000 extra ventilators could be required to treat infected patients as more people are hospitalised due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

David Rolfe, UK&I Chief Executive Officer at Althea, said: “There is a country-wide worry that there may not be enough ventilators to sustain critical patients who need breathing assistance which is why we are appealing to Trusts in the country to contact us immediately if they have broken or disused equipment. We will review every response that we receive to see if we could make it work for the current situation.”

“Althea will arrange for it to be collected and our specialised team will start work to get the systems back into operation so they can save lives. By working together, we can ensure there are more ventilators in hospitals and more people will gain access to these equipment as they are treated for COVID-19.”

Althea’s refurbishment project will support the Government’s Ventilator Challenge UK consortium, which has been set up to scale up production of much-needed ventilators.

Any Trust with broken or disused equipment can call  +44 (0)118 900 8140 or email