Coronavirus: Nightingale hospital to be set up at Westpoint, Exeter

PUBLISHED: 10:36 11 April 2020 | UPDATED: 07:41 13 April 2020

The world is fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

The world is fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

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A temporary Nightingale hospital is to be opened at Exeter’s Westpoint to provide extra beds for patients with coronavirus symptoms, if needed.

At this time of year, preparations would normally be under way for the Devon County Show at Westpoint but this year, the exhibition centre is being converted into a Nightingal hospital in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ref shs 20 17TI 3396. Picture: Terry IfeAt this time of year, preparations would normally be under way for the Devon County Show at Westpoint but this year, the exhibition centre is being converted into a Nightingal hospital in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ref shs 20 17TI 3396. Picture: Terry Ife

The hospital is expected to be operational by early May and will have up to 200 beds.

It is one of two new Nightingale hospitals being set up, the other being in Tyne and Wear, and will bring the total number to seven.

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, said: “These hospitals will provide backup and support for NHS hospitals across the South West and the North East, should it be needed.

“Our local health service staff have rightly recommended we go ahead with these additional facilities.

“But our ambition as a country has to be to continue to stay at home to cut infections and save lives – so that the need to actually use these Nightingale hospitals is as limited as possible.”

Professor Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England, said: “As the NHS faces the greatest health challenge in its history, we’re supporting patients and staff with additional capacity across the soon-to-be seven NHS Nightingale Hospitals.”

“The new sites – including the two announced today in Sunderland and Exeter – will give the NHS the best chance of ensuring coronavirus patients needing specialist care can get it, wherever they live.”

“It is an incredible feat, but the key aim is to reduce the number of patients needing them, so I urge everyone to take sensible steps to reduce transmission of this virus.”

The two new hospitals will take the initial number of additional beds to be created by the Nightingale project nationally to more than 3,600, with the ability to add more if local health bosses think they are needed.

All Nightingales will draw on existing NHS staff, as well as the thousands of returning staff and training clinicians who have already begun to swell their ranks.

The MP for East Devon, Simon Jupp, said: “I warmly welcome plans for the new NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter based at Westpoint in East Devon.

“The extra 200 beds will ensure our superb local NHS is as prepared as possible to beat the virus. Opening in early May, the new Nightingale Hospital Exeter builds on existing plans to increase critical care capacity in hospitals across Devon.

“We must all play our part by staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”


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