The army has helped convert UCLan’s Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre in Marsh Lane into a coronavirus patient recovery facility.Advertisement
The extra bed capacity is a contingency to support the NHS response to the pandemic.
The Chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum (LRF), Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods, asked for the army to assist in clearing and preparing the UCLan site last weekend via a Military Assistance to the Civil Authority (MACA) request.
Work has now started to transform the space into a 150-bed community recovery centre.
The LRF says it’s been working closely with the NHS and other partners to ensure that Lancashire is in the best possible position to support patients should the need arise.
DCC Terry Woods said: “It’s the LRF’s role to ensure that the county is fully prepared to deal with the peak of the coronavirus, and extra capacity for the NHS is one of the things we have been scoping. It may never be required, but we must be prepared in case it is needed.
“We have looked at different sites across the county and believe the one at the university offers the facilities we need to create the additional space for patients to recover after a hospital stay.
“We are grateful to the university for allowing us to use the centre and to the military who worked over the Easter weekend to clear the site so it is ready. We want to be prepared to support the NHS as soon as required, so this work is vital in ensuring that we are.”
Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor of UCLan said: “The University of Central Lancashire is pleased to be working closely with the Lancashire Resilience Forum and the military, and has identified our Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre to serve as a patient recovery centre should additional bed capacity be required by the NHS in Lancashire.
“We can do this due to the capacity on campus created by our students undertaking their learning online and remotely, and being in the heart of Lancashire this facility is the ideal choice.”
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