Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium has begun to offer maternity and antenatal services as the Premier League club helps to free up space for a local hospital to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
From Tuesday, pregnancy scans, antenatal clinics, a maternal day unit and a range of support services will be hosted at the stadium after being transferred from the nearby North Middlesex University Hospital.
It will free up capacity at the hospital and ensure pregnant women are able to stay away from the main hospital site during the COVID-19 pandemic, if they only require routine antenatal care.
It comes after Tottenham’s wider response to the coronavirus crisis had been heavily criticised, with some of the club’s players reported to be angry at actions taken by chairman Daniel Levy.
Officially known as the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the club’s new ground was built on the site of their old White Hart Lane stadium for an estimated cost of between £850m to £1bn and opened in April last year.
The stadium, which has now had a major section repurposed to offer the NHS services, is one mile away from North Middlesex University Hospital.
A maternal day unit has been set up in what is usually one of the changing rooms for when the stadium hosts American Football matches, while the area where players normally conduct TV interviews after matches will be used as a consultation and scanning room.
Since last week, it has already become the first Premier League stadium to be used as a site for NHS staff to be swab tested for COVID-19.
Up to 70 healthcare workers can be tested at the stadium’s drive-through facility each day.
We’re delighted to be providing some maternity and antenatal services from @SpursOfficial’s stadium, starting from Tuesday 14 April. Our teams worked their (football) socks off over the weekend to move equipment and fit out the stadium space. Fans of all teams welcome.🤰🤱👶 https://t.co/dK9UdWeknk
— North Mid Hospital (@NorthMidNHS) April 13, 2020
Maria Kane, chief executive of North Middlesex University Hospital, said: “We are so grateful to Tottenham Hotspur for providing their wonderful facilities for our staff, patients, and local community during these difficult times.”
On Easter Monday, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy announced a U-turn on his previous decision to seek taxpayers’ cash to pay non-playing staff during the coronavirus crisis.
At the beginning of this month, Mr Levy said he would cut the wages of 550 of Tottenham’s non-playing staff by 20% and apply for the government’s job retention scheme “where appropriate” to pay the remaining 80% of furloughed staff’s salaries.
The action was announced on the same day it was revealed Mr Levy earned a £3m bonus last year, as part of his £7m earnings, and after Tottenham announced record revenues of £461m.
It prompted widespread anger – including from the club’s fans – and calls for Tottenham to first slash the wages of their highly-paid players before seeking taxpayers’ cash to pay other staff.
Criticism of the club deepened after Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho was later pictured flouting the government’s coronavirus guidelines by meeting up with midfielder Tanguy Ndombele for a one-on-one training session.
Mr Levy has now reversed his decision to cut the wages of non-playing staff, with all of them – whether full-time, casual or furloughed – to now receive 100% of their pay for April and May.
Only the club’s board will have their salaries reduced.
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Mr Levy’s initial action is reported to have upset some players at the club.
Former England player Gary Neville told Sky Sports News that Tottenham striker Harry Kane’s recent admission he could leave the club might have been prompted by Mr Levy’s initial action.