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DUP South Antrim MLA and Vice Chair of the Assembly Health Committee Pam Cameron has welcomed confirmation that Belfast City Hospital will become Northern Ireland’s first Nightingale hospital.

The development came after Covid-19 modelling published by the Department of Health indicated the peak of the first wave of the virus was expected from Monday.

Commenting, Mrs Cameron said:

‘‘This announcement is welcome and necessary in light of the expected surge of Covid-19 cases from next week. The plans being put in place by the Minister also include further critical-care capacity at Altnagelvin and the Ulster Hospital as well as temporary secondary care facilities being built by the MoD. It is vital that patients living across Northern Ireland have access to a consistent and coordinated level of care at this uncertain time.

We are also conscious that these developments will mean transferring some non-Covid-19 patients to other locations. This should be done with compassion and dignity and with all decisions being well communicated to them and their loved ones.

At this difficult time we reiterate our deep gratitude to those NHS and care workers who will be working under immense pressure, often in different locations and environment, in the coming days. We have a responsibility to ensure they are well resourced, well informed and protected as they lead the fight against this deadly threat to public health.’’