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Army Reservist on Tideway helps convert Headley Court into covid-19 hospital

Army Reservist on Tideway helps convert Headley Court into covid-19 hospital

A logistics and traffic manager working on the Tideway project formed part of the team that helped convert Headley Court in Surrey into a temporary hospital to treat patients suffering with Covid-19.

Major Dave Richmond, of 3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, works for contractor Costain on the Eastern section of the super sewer.

But it’s his work as an Army Reservist, specifically as Military Liaison Officer to the NHS in south east England, that has kept him busiest during the lockdown.

Headley Court, outside Leatherhead, was formerly used a rehab centre for injured members of the Armed Forces.

The premises had been earmarked for conversion into retirement homes, but when the pandemic struck, the decision was made to use it to provide extra capacity for the NHS.

Major Richmond explained: “We first went to look at Headley Court on April 1 – we’re now at the point of putting in beds, with clinical staff moving in.”

“The power supply to the building had been vandalised and all utilities disconnected, but it had the benefit of a clinical layout that just needed restoration and fitting out.

“I've been working with the owner, contractors, local councils and the NHS to plan and co-ordinate. It’s been frantic and lots of hard work, but really rewarding to see how people have pulled together.

“We’ve overcome commercial and bureaucratic issues that might have caused delays in normal times.”

This week the facility opened, and is providing ongoing support to Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Major Richmond added: “Costain and Tideway have been really supportive. When I mobilised, they asked if I needed anything, so when I realised we could do with more transport, they provided a site vehicle and driver.

“In its former life I visited soldiers recovering from serious injuries at Headley Court. I’m proud to have played my part in converting the building – but I hope that it never has to admit a coronavirus patient, because that would mean we’re managing the situation.”