Why Abu Dhabi owner backtracked to charge NHS for Nightingale hospital?
Europe, Middle East & Africa

Why Abu Dhabi owner backtracked to charge NHS for Nightingale hospital?

It started as a simple monetary transaction but was later made to look like a humanitarian act when a rival party was willing to give away their premises for free to the National Health Services (NHS) in dire straits of space to treat corona virus infected patients.

As the figures of infection mount in Britain, the NHS has been desperately looking for space to treat the infected. It would establish what they call as a Nightingale Hospital Service that is the first one of its kind as an emergency field hospital to treat corona virus patients.

Initially, the Abu Dhabi owners of London’s ExCel conference centre were approached to establish this service. London’s ExCel was demanding £3 million per month to use their premises and transform the place to home as many as 4000 patients.

However, the NEC Birmingham stepped in to give away their premises free of charge, to which London ExCel did the turnaround on their initial demand and decided to give their premises for free.

The NEC Birmingham is owned by American private equity giant Blackstone, and the Manchester Central Complex. Both were willing to see this as a contribution to the cause of humanity and not monetize the situation.

Making a public statement, ExCel chief executive Jeremy Rees refuted any claims of charging a monthly fee and said, “The use of ExCeL London for NHS Nightingale London has always been provided to the NHS rent free.” Terming the demand as NHS’ contribution to some ‘operational fixed costs’, he further added that ExCel had since then decided to bear the cost itself.

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