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NHS preparing new Nightingale Hospital

A new NHS Nightingale Hospital will be opened in Westpoint, Exeter, to provide 200 extra beds for patients with coronavirus symptoms if needed.

The new NHS Nightingale Hospital, which is expected to be ready for the first patients, if needed, by early May, will provide a regional resource of 200 beds for Devon, Cornwall and neighbouring counties to meet the care needs for patients who are seriously unwell due to their coronavirus symptoms.

The five hospitals in Devon and Cornwall will provide the majority of care for critically ill patients with coronavirus, and have plans in place to increase their critical care capacity up to 500 beds across both counties.

Elizabeth O’Mahony, Regional Director, NHS England and NHS Improvement – South West, said:

“The Nightingale Exeter will support our existing hospital network to care for critically ill patients from the south of the region. We are taking steps now to ensure that the hospital is available if required but we hope that it is not needed. We ask everyone in the South West to continue to follow the national recommendations to reduce transmission of the virus, please stay at home, observe social distancing, protect your local NHS and each of you will help save lives. We want the NHS in the South West to be as well prepared as possible.”

The new Nightingale Hospital will be hosted by the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. It will be run as a system level model to ensure resilience across the Devon, Cornwall and wider South West region.

The set-up of this new facility will be overseen by Philippa Slinger, an experienced NHS Chief Executive, and currently lead Chief Executive for the Devon Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. She said:

“I would like to thank local people for their extraordinary support to the NHS by staying at home. Where people have needed to go out for essential reasons, they have by and large practised good social distancing. These actions need to continue as they are helping us to manage the pandemic.”