Hatfield’s Uni of Herts ‘scoped’ as potential COVID-19 hospital

PUBLISHED: 11:41 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:46 06 April 2020

The entrance to the University of Hertfordshire's de Havilland Campus in Hatfield. Picture: Alan Davies

The entrance to the University of Hertfordshire's de Havilland Campus in Hatfield. Picture: Alan Davies

Alan Davies

The University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield has been looked at as an emergency hospital under the NHS response to COVID-19.

The David Lloyd Club in The Hangar on the Hatfield Business Park in Hatfield. The main structure of the test flight hangar was built in just 13 weeks between 1952 and 1953, with the control tower, offices and a dedicated fire station completed in 1954. Picture: Alan DaviesThe David Lloyd Club in The Hangar on the Hatfield Business Park in Hatfield. The main structure of the test flight hangar was built in just 13 weeks between 1952 and 1953, with the control tower, offices and a dedicated fire station completed in 1954. Picture: Alan Davies

If this goes ahead, the David Lloyd Gym – in Hatfield – would then be used as a potential logistic site to service the university, according to ITV News.

Chief executive of David Lloyd, Glenn Earlam, told ITV News that its club in Hatfield could be used as a “logistics headquarters” for the army while they build a hospital nearby.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps said sites across the UK are being “scoped out” as additional hospitals and logistic centres, with Hatfield among them.

The Transport Secretary added: “For the time being I understand that the location is not required, though doubtless this will be kept under review.

The David Lloyd Club in The Hangar on the Hatfield Business Park in Hatfield. At the time of its construction it was the largest aluminium hangar in the world with an unsupported span. Picture: Alan DaviesThe David Lloyd Club in The Hangar on the Hatfield Business Park in Hatfield. At the time of its construction it was the largest aluminium hangar in the world with an unsupported span. Picture: Alan Davies

“The most important thing that Welwyn Hatfield Times readers can do is follow the now familiar advice.

“Please, please stay home in Welwyn Hatfield, that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19, thereby taking pressure off the NHS and thereby save lives and, in this case, prevent our needing a COVID-19 hospital in Hatfield.”

NHS Nightingale hospitals – to respond to COVID-19 – have already opened in London and will soon be built in Bristol, Manchester, Bimingham and Harrogate to provide thousands of extra beds if local services need them.

A university is amongst one of those sites with the West of England in Bristol to be used for up to 1,000 patients.

The David Lloyd Club in The Hangar on the Hatfield Business Park in Hatfield. Picture: Alan DaviesThe David Lloyd Club in The Hangar on the Hatfield Business Park in Hatfield. Picture: Alan Davies

Currently, Hertfordshire has two A&E hospitals – one in Stevenage, Lister and one in Watford – and a new facility in the area would relieve the pressure on current services.

West Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Watford Hospital, declared a critical incident on Saturday and had to close its A&E, which has since re-opened.

It was reportedly over an issue with oxygen equipment at the trust, which has also closed its St Albans hospital to cope with COVID-19.

The University of Hertfordshire did not provide any answer but directed this newspaper to NHS England, who said they will provide details of additional sites once these have been confirmed.

David Lloyd has also been contacted for a comment but has yet to respond.


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