Published date: 10 June 2020

Repurposing vacant space to create additional bed capacity for COVID-19 treatment and step down care

Biggleswade Community Hospital, Bedfordshire


Site: NHSPS owned community hospital

Customers: NHS Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Beds, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System, East London NHS Foundation Trust

Partners: Ministry of Defence

NHSPS representatives: Paul Cross, Regional Partnership Director (East), Jo Tuck, Facilities Services Manager, Donna Brydon, Senior Property Manager

The challenge

Although the majority of COVID-19 related patient treatment is handled in acute hospitals, there is some need for the primary care estate (e.g. GP surgeries and community hospitals) to find and repurpose space for this too. 

In mid-March 2020, NHSPS started to prepare two vacant wards of 27 beds in Biggleswade Community Hospital for re-use for COVID-19 additional capacity should the need arise. 

The solution

The NHSPS team identified vacant space at Biggleswade Community hospital (Whitbread and Lindsell Wards), which could be recommissioned on a short timeline to provide additional bed capacity. 

Working with our Facilities Management teams, we deep cleaned the wards, installed curtains and laid out existing furniture. We checked the water flow was running safely, and installed temporary new heating for one of the wards. 

The impact

In the space of ten days we have recommissioned space for 27 additional beds, handing them over to the CCG who will now identify a provider for this patient care. 

In addition, we have provided support to ELFT and the army who have set up a temporary COVID-19 testing facility on the Hospital site.

Expanding NHS capacity during COVID-19

We recommissioned and reconfigured space across our estate during COVID-19 to provide additional capacity for treatment and testing, delivering space for over 1,000 beds.

Learn more with our infographic