Two new Nightingale Hospitals are to be opened by the NHS in England in order to help provide additional beds for patients suffering from coronavirus symptoms.
Sunderland and Exeter have been chosen as the sites for the two new hospitals, should they be needed in the weeks ahead. Sir Simon Stevens Chief Executive of the NHS made the announcement about the additional sites in Tyne and Wear and Devon just six days after announcing the development of hospitals in Bristol and Harrogate. This comes as the NHS and UK Government officials are continuing to step up their efforts to maximise patient capacity throughout the UK.
The two new sites which have been announced brings the total of NHS Nightingale hospitals around the country to seven in just a matter of weeks. The new hospitals in both Exeter and Sunderland are expected to be operation towards the end of April or beginning of early May, and, will add an additional 700 beds to used by local services if they are needed.
Sunderland’s NHS Nightingale North East will have 450 beds in the first instance, while NHS Nightingale Exeter will add around an additional 200 beds for local capacity. The extra capacity and extra measures 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 seen the NHS acquire an additional 8,000 beds to use as and when they should be needed.
The NHS Nightingale hospitals have been utilised to ensure that local services can remain active, along with this, they have the necessary capacity to care for patients who are suffering from COVID-19 as well patients who might need urgent, emergency treatment. The first patients were recently admitted to NHS Nightingale Hospital London, which was made fully operational 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 lies – so that the need to actually use these Nightingale hospitals is a limited as possible.”
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