Published date: 26 May 2020

Creating additional capacity for COVID-19 patients by repurposing and reconfiguring space

176 bed spaces created


bed spaces created

Mortuary set up on site


set up on site

Future capacity being explored


capacity being explored

Key stakeholders

Customers: Brentwood & Basildon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), North East London Foundation Trust

Partners: Ministry of Defence, Kajima (PFI company)

NHSPS teams: Portfolio Optimisation, Facilities Services, Property Management

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, NHS Property Services (NHSPS) started to prepare a vacant ward of 25 beds in Brentwood Community Hospital for re-use for COVID-19 additional capacity should the need arise.

We were then approached by Brentwood & Basildon CCG in partnership with North East London FT (NELFT) to recommission and repurpose further space in the Hospital to provide even more bed capacity up to a total of 176 community beds.

The solution

Our first priority was to recommission the vacant Bayman Ward, which we did proactively within two days to provide 25 beds (handed over to the CCG on 23rd March).

NHSPS teams then worked with the PFI company, the CCG, NELFT and the army to repurpose space across the wider hospital site.

This involved stripping out fixtures and fittings (including furniture) to create maximum space, which have been temporarily stored in nearby St Margaret’s Hospital, and making all necessary adaptations for additional beds, including variations for cleaning, catering and laundry and a review of fire and evacuation procedures.

The impact

In the space of a month, we helped provide capacity space for 176 beds to treat patients. A total of 159 beds from this capacity were handed over to the CCG and the providing Trust and are now operational.

These beds provided sub-acute, step-down and palliative care for the local health economy, easing pressure on acute care sites. A temporary mortuary was also set up in the car park.

We have since started to formalise this work, so the bed capacity can be permanently kept at a higher level. The hospital will now have a total of 120 additional permanent beds as a result of the past year's work, which will continue as operational beyond the pandemic.

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. See our infographic for more information.