ADNEC offers use of ExCeL London centre to NHS free of charge
LONDON - The ExCeL centre joined the British government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, offering the National Health Services (NHS) the use of its facilities free of all costs and charges.
The East London exhibition centre, which is owned by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), has been converted into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, with space for 4,000 beds in just nine days with the help of the military.
The chief executive of the ExCeL centre, Jeremy Rees, said in a statement that “the deal with the NHS had included some contributions to costs, but we have since decided to cover the fixed costs ourselves.”
“The use of ExCeL London for NHS Nightingale London has always been provided to the NHS rent-free. We joined the national effort to combat coronavirus immediately and worked in close partnership with the NHS to ensure this hospital could be up and running in a matter of days,” said Rees.
“The initial agreement with the NHS included a contribution to some fixed costs. We have since decided to cover the fixed costs ourselves. The ExCeL London facility is fully available to the NHS, and we are here to support all their needs and requirements during this crisis,” he added.
The 87,328 square-metre field hospital, which opened Friday, has 500 fully-equipped beds, with oxygen and ventilators, which are already in place. Space for another 3,500 beds is available as the NHS Nightingale London could be one of the world’s largest hospitals if it reached full capacity.
“Profit has always been the furthest thing from our minds,” said ADNEC’s CEO, Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, told the Guardian.
“The venue was offered rent-free from the initial conversation with the NHS, and Adnec Group will ensure the ExCeL London partnership comes at no cost to the NHS,” said Dhaheri.
“It is our firm commitment that we will not charge a penny for the use of our facilities, and we will provide the NHS with the operational and logistical support it needs for NHS Nightingale London,” he added.
UAE ambassador to the United Kingdom Mansoor Abulhoul stressed in a tweet March 28 his pride to see an Emirati company help Britain during this difficult time.
“Very proud to see UAE company @ADNECGroup @ExCeLLondon helping Britain in its time of need. #NHSNightingale #StayHomeSaveLives,” tweeted Abulhoul.
ADNEC’s gesture is the latest in a series of measures that the United Arab Emirates has taken as part of its international humanitarian actions to help several countries contain the pandemic.
Britons took to social media to thank ADNEC for its kind gesture of helping the NHS in its struggle against COVID-19 that has so far infected 47,806 people and killed 4,934 across the UK.
“Hi a big thank you from the UK to Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri MD & CEO. We are using his EXCEL centre in UK for the biggest Intensive care unit in the world FREE OF CHARGE. Please share my tweet as a thank you to your country,” tweeted NHS Support group.
This article was first published on Middle East Online