latest health care news

14.04.20

Two additional NHS Nightingale hospitals set to be opened in England

Sunderland and Exeter have both been confirmed as locations where new NHS Nightingale hospitals will be opened to help provide additional beds for patients with coronavirus symptoms, should they be needed in the coming weeks ahead.

Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS, made the announcement confirming the additional sites in Tyne and Wear and Devon, six days after announcing the developing of similar sites in Bristol and Harrogate, as the NHS and government officials continue to step up its efforts to maximise patient capacity across the UK.

In total, the two new sites bring the number of NHS Nightingale hospitals around the country to seven in just a matter of weeks.

The sites in Exeter and Sunderland are expected to be operation towards the end of April or early May and will add an additional 700 beds to be used by local services if needed. Sunderland’s NHS Nightingale North East will be equipped with up to 450 beds initially, while NHS Nightingale Exeter will add around 200 beds to local capacity.

These measures and extra capacity come on top of the 33,000 additional beds which have already been freed up across NHS hospitals, which equates to having built 50 additional district general hospitals. An unprecedented deal with the private healthcare sector has also acquired the NHS a further 8,000 beds to use as and when it needs.

NHS Nightingale hospitals have been utilised to ensure that local services can remain active and have the necessary capacity to care for both patients with coronavirus and other patients who may need urgent and emergency treatment. The first patients were recently admitted to the NHS Nightingale Hospital London, which was made operation in less than two weeks.

Sir Simon Stevens 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.”

The seven confirmed NHS Nightingale hospitals will be integrated into the local healthcare structure of each area, working closely with and supporting existing NHS hospitals in each area across England.

Just as with the five previously announced Nightingale sites, the conversion of facilities at the Sunderland and Exeter sites will be carried out in a joint project between local NHS organisations, the armed forces and contractors. Staff for the new hospitals will be drawn from the existing NHS workforce, as well as thousands of returning staff and trained clinicians who have responded to a national call to bolster the health service’s ranks.

Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director at NHS England, added: “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.”

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