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NHS Nightingale Birmingham COVID Beds at NEC Birmingham

NHS Beds

Challenge: NHS Beds Needed

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK anticipated a significant increase in the number of hospital spaces required. To address this, NHS Nightingale Hospitals were temporarily set up across the country; and the NHS Supply Chain put out a call for the equipment needed to fill these new hospitals.

Our customer, a leading UK bed designer and manufacturer, had an urgent and immediate demand for beds to supply the NHS Nightingale Hospital at NEC Birmingham, and NHS Louisa Jordan in Glasgow.

They had three significant challenges which needed to be addressed for this project:

  • Development of a bed design which met all regulatory requirements.
  • Design and manufacture of the product needed to be exclusively via UK manufacturers, as borders were closed due to the pandemic.
  • The project was time-critical: a quick turnaround for delivery to the NHS was paramount.
Welding the Covid19 Treatment Bed at Universal Wolf
NHS Nightingale Birmingham Covid19 Treatment Bed in the Universal Wolf Paint Shop

Solution:  Rapid Prototyping

Our customer went through an accelerated prototype stage in mid-March, designing, developing, and prototyping their rapid deployment COVID-19 Treatment Bed within one week.  They then engaged a large number of subcontractors, narrowing down their list of chosen suppliers from 60 to 5. They approached Universal Wolf to support the second wave of production.

The completion of this project was a true team effort across the pack.  As we had recently furloughed a number of our staff under the government’s Job Retention Scheme, Managers and Supervisors stepped in to complete production of the collapsible metal bed frames.  Colleagues came together from all areas of the business, from Operators, Supervisors, Engineers and Managers.  Our colleagues were passionate about being able to support this project, with a number of teams working over the bank holiday weekend to ensure we could deliver on this requirement within the customer’s tight timescales.

Impact:  260 Beds Delivered in Ten Days

We were able to deliver the first instalment of beds within a 96-hour window from receipt of order.

A total of 260 beds were delivered within 10 days – under normal circumstances, this lead time would have been 6 months. In total, we delivered 750 beds destined for the NHS hospitals in Birmingham and Glasgow.

Not only were we able to support our customer and the NHS at this crucial time; but being involved in the COVID-19 Treatment Bed project raised morale at Universal Wolf during a very difficult period. It gave our colleagues a sense of purpose, and pride that they were able to contribute to the national effort. By acting in line with our values – Better, Smarter, Pack – we were able to come together and deliver a critical project in record time.

For more information on Nightingale Hospitals, visit:


NHS Nightingale Birmingham Covid19 Treatment Bed at NEC Birmingham