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Hero retired nurse, 62, with 40 years experience goes back onto the frontline

Operation Excel: Ambulances line up outside UK’s new mega hospital to deal with coronavirus crisis as it’s revealed nurse, 62, with 40 years’ experience is coming out of retirement to run it

  • Deirdre Barr, 62, will come out of retirement to head the new ExCel hospital
  • Barr, from Bogside, has served the NHS for 40 years after joining as a cadet
  • Her sister, 74, said her family are incredibly proud of her brave decision
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Ambulances were seen lining up outside the UK’s new mega hospital at the ExCel building, as it emerges a retired nurse, 62, will go back to the frontlines to head the medical centre. 

Deirdre Barr, 62, from Northern Island will come out of retirement to work as director of operations at the new hospital. 

Ambulances and healthcare workers gathered outside the facility this morning, in preparation for its opening next week. 

Ambulance workers were seen unloading oxygen tanks, heart monitors and defibrillators at the medical centre named the NHS Nightingale Hospital, which is expected to provide thousands of new beds for COVID-19 victims.  

Ambulance staff and health workers outside the ExCel Center in London on Sunday morning, above and below 

The new NHS Nightingale Hospital is expected to open next week, providing thousands of new beds to COVID-19 sufferers

The new NHS Nightingale Hospital is expected to open next week, providing thousands of new beds to COVID-19 sufferers 

Deirdre Barr, 62, (pictured) will come out of retirement to work as director of operations at the new Nightingale Hospital in East London

Deirdre Barr, 62, (pictured) will come out of retirement to work as director of operations at the new Nightingale Hospital in East London

It comes as NHS workers from all over the UK are pulled to London as the capital prepares for a ‘tsunami’ of patients. 

Deirdre Barr, 62, from Northern Island will come out of retirement to work as director of operations at the new Nightingale Hospital in East London, which is preparing to house thousands of COVID-19 patients.  

Barr, from Bogside, has served the NHS for 40 years, after joining as a St John Ambulance cadet.  

An ambulance worker unloads oxygen tanks, heart monitors and defibrillators outside the ExCel Center in London on Sunday morning

An ambulance worker unloads oxygen tanks, heart monitors and defibrillators outside the ExCel Center in London on Sunday morning 

Ambulance staff and health workers outside the ExCel Center in London this morning.

Ambulance staff and health workers outside the ExCel Center in London this morning. 

She will now leave her home in Kent to work at the new hospital amid the global pandemic. 

Her sister Dolores, 74, said that although the family were concerned for Barr, they were extremely proud of her decision. 

‘This is a massive job, and we’re scared for Deirdre, but we are so very proud that she has taken it on. If anyone can do this, Deirdre can. She’s always been the one person her whole family turns to in times of trouble and sickness.

Barr, from Bogside, has served the NHS for 40 years, after joining as a St John Ambulance cadet

Barr, from Bogside, has served the NHS for 40 years, after joining as a St John Ambulance cadet

‘Now the whole of the UK will be turning to her. She’ll handle it well. She has broad shoulders and never shirks from responsibility.

‘This job is going to ask an awful lot of her but we know she’ll face it head on. The pictures we are seeing of the Nightingale Hospital are terrifying but our Deirdre will take it all in her stride,’ she told the Daily Mirror. 

It comes as NHS nurses from all over the UK are sent to London as the capital is set to be struck by a ‘tsunami’ of cases in the coming weeks.

An ambulance worker unloads oxygen tanks, heart monitors and defibrillators outside the ExCel Center in London.  The NHS is anticipating a Coronavirus 'tsunami' as the peak of infection rates nears

An ambulance worker unloads oxygen tanks, heart monitors and defibrillators outside the ExCel Center in London.  The NHS is anticipating a Coronavirus ‘tsunami’ as the peak of infection rates nears

The ExCel hospital is set to open next week, with 500 beds and plans to expand to 4,000.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace has described the plans as an ‘ambitious project’ that ‘is just one example of what can be achieved when they come together to help the nation’. 

It has been reported that as many as 13 makeshift hospitals may be needed in the UK to tackle the health crisis. 

The UK saw coronavirus cases jump by 2,921 on Friday to almost 15,000, the largest increase so far, while the death toll spiked by a third to 759. 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk