The owners of the former IBM factory near Greenock have stepped forward to offer the facility as an NHS field hospital to help with the Covid-19 crisis.

McGill’s Buses owners Sandy and James Easdale, and Advance Construction owner Seamus Shields, have offered the vacant 65,000sq/ft building in Spango Valley which they said is in good condition and has canteen, toilet and office facilities in place together with a network of utilities capable of supporting increased usage.

Plans are currently progressing for a £100 million mixed-use development on the site, including the creation of up to 450 homes.

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The Easdale family has also offered the use of a commercial office block in Port Glasgow’s Scarlow Street which was formerly used by the Department for Work and Pensions.

In a joint statement, Sandy and James Easdale said: “The NHS and the Scottish Government are looking at potential options for field hospitals in Scotland, similar to what is being facilitated at the Excel in London.

“We know there will be specific criteria required by the NHS but this is a vacant, large capacity building which is easily accessed in the west of Scotland. Contact has already been made with local politicians and Scottish Government regarding its availability and should it be required then we can make progress rapidly on its handover.

“The NHS staff and government are doing brilliant work to get us through this unprecedented crisis and we are willing to help them in any way we can.”

Seamus Shields, joint owner of the site and owner of Advance Construction, said: “As a business we are navigating ourselves through these challenging times and can only imagine the pressures that the NHS and Scottish Government are under during this crisis. We are delighted to be able to assist in any way possible and my team are ready and willing to help prepare the site if required to enable access and infrastructure requirements of the NHS.”

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland's chief medical officer, said sites are being considered for such a facility.

It comes as the NHS in London plans to use the ExCeL Centre to treat up to 4,000 people.

A travel firm is donating equipment worth £250,000 to help nurses dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

Online company Trtl is handing over its stockpile of compression socks to help nurses fight fatigue on the wards.

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A total of 5,000 pairs have been given to acute nurses in hospitals across Scotland in the past two weeks and the firm plans to distribute 5,000 more in London in the next week.

Trtl's sales have fallen 95% in the past two weeks and chief executive officer Michael Corrigan said he wants to help those on the front-line by donating the surplus socks.

He said: "Although the compression socks have been most popular with airline travellers, at the start of this year we ran a small campaign with nurses around the world and they were really happy with them.

"Over the past few days, I've been thinking about how we can contribute in what is the biggest crisis many of us will face in our lifetimes.

"When something like this happens it very rapidly puts things into perspective.

"Nurses across the UK will be tested as never before in the coming weeks and if we can do something to help make the time they spend on their feet more comfortable, we must.

"I couldn't just see these socks sitting in a warehouse when they could be helping people saving lives. That's what's important, and nurses need all the help they can get just now."

Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the city's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and the Royal Edinburgh Hospital have each received 1,000 pairs.

Ninewells Hospital in Dundee and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary have both been given 500 pairs.

Glasgow Royal Infirmary chief nurse John Stuart said: "We are under no illusions about what we are going to face in the weeks to come.

"Our nurses work incredibly hard and can spend hours and hours on the move during every shift.

"With these compression socks we can help our staff alleviate some of the discomfort and aches associated with being on your feet for long periods of time and help them better face the challenges that are coming our way with Covid-19.

"Any gesture like this can help boost morale and hopefully the colourful designs will help brighten the days of our nursing staff."

Medical staff have booked hundreds of nights at a hotel offering them free rooms and meals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ten Place Hill Hotel in Edinburgh said since it launched the initiative on Friday more than 232 room nights have been booked to accommodate guests over the coming weeks.

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The hotel, owned by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) and operated by Surgeons Quarter, is less than a mile from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and three miles from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

It is urging more workers to make use of its 129 bedrooms and is now including a free evening meal as well as a continental packed breakfast.

RCSEd president Professor Michael Griffin praised the initiative.
He said: "Covid-19 is unlike anything we've seen in our lifetimes - and I know the strain it is putting across all aspects of our wonderful health service.

"The team at Ten Hill Place are giving tired workers vital respite to allow them to focus on caring for the country.
"The decision ... supported very strongly by myself and our team, to open the hotel up to healthcare workers who are finding it difficult to get in on public transport, was a brave but generous one."

He added: "We are helping them to help us, our families and our friends as they fall ill from any condition, not just COVID-19.

"We simply can't put a value on this. The work Surgeons Quarter has been doing is truly outstanding and admirable - everyone at the college is extremely proud."

The RCSEd said it also has engaged with the chief medical officer to say it would be willing to temporarily convert the hotel, should hospitals overflow.

Scott Mitchell, managing director at Surgeons Quarter, said: "This is a really challenging time for everyone in the world.

"We are happy to be able to play a small part in helping to make the lives of our heroic medical and clinical workforce at the front-line of Scotland's response to Covid-19 that little bit easier.

"We have been taken aback by the positive response to opening the hotel to NHS staff and the wider medical and clinical workforce and want to encourage those who are able to take advantage of our city centre location to get in touch."

Surgeons Quarter has also pledged to pay all 76 salaried and contracted staff over at least the next three months, while adding discretionary sick pay at full levels.

Ten Hill Place said it has 129 hotel rooms that are available to a variety of key workers carrying a valid hospital photographic identity card or similar.