Insmartcities has provided a vital link for hospital patients with coronavirus symptoms to stay in touch with their loved ones.

The Harrogate-based company has installed a super-fast WiFi service for patients at the new NHS Nightingale Hospital in the North East.

The free secure network will allow them to maintain contact with friends and family while the lockdown remains in place. It is separate from the main NHS network.

The new hospital was built by local NHS organisations, the armed forces and contractors in just three weeks. The 460-bed facility will provide backup and support for care services in the North East and Cumbria if needed. 

Insmartcities chief executive Natalie Duffield said: “We know how important it is to keep in touch with loved ones during a time of crisis.

“Patients will be able to use our network to share messages with their friends and families and help lift spirits in this isolating period.

“We were happy to respond to the urgent call from the NHS and do our bit to support the national effort.”

The company’s engineers installed the network less than two days while maintaining social distancing throughout. The new Nightingale hospital is at the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing in Washington. It is part of a nationwide effort to respond to the greatest global health emergency in more than a century.

Dame Jackie Daniel, chief executive of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This new NHS Nightingale Hospital will provide extra, specialist capacity to care for coronavirus patients from across the North East and North Cumbria, should the NHS need it. 

“Completing this facility in a matter of weeks is a huge testimony to the power of pulling together to achieve a joint goal and all partners involved – from the NHS, construction contractors and partner organisations – have worked tirelessly to achieve this.  My gratitude and thanks go to everyone involved.”

NHS leaders have reminded people to stay at home to cut infections and save lives so the need to use the new Nightingale hospitals is as limited as possible.

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