Work underway on Devon’s Nightingale hospital

PUBLISHED: 17:55 13 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:49 14 May 2020

At the site of the NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter. Sarah James, chief nurse, Rob Dyer, strategic medical director, Philippa Slinger, NHS chief executive leading the development of Nightingale. Picture: Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust

At the site of the NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter. Sarah James, chief nurse, Rob Dyer, strategic medical director, Philippa Slinger, NHS chief executive leading the development of Nightingale. Picture: Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust

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Work to build an NHS Nightingale hospital in Devon is now officially underway.

Nightingale Exeter, at the former Homebase store in Moor Lane, will provide a regional resource for Devon, Cornwall and neighbouring counties supporting the existing hospital network.

Work to transform the former retail unit began on Wednesday, May 6. It is expected to be completed by the middle/end of June.

NHS leaders in Devon say that they hope that Nightingale Exeter will not be needed but if or when it is, it will be ready.

As well as treating the sickest patients, Nightingale Exeter could also be used for those patients with less severe problems associated with Covid-19 – and for those who are recovering after a period in hospital.

To support the maximum number of beds (120), 450 NHS clinical staff from across the region would work at the hospital.

Until they are required, staff will remain on standby – at their existing hospitals or workplaces.

Once the hospital has opened, it will be operated by the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of all the hospitals in Devon and Cornwall.

Rob Dyer, medical director of the Nightingale hospital, said: “We have brought together a strong team to deliver this latest addition to the NHS Nightingale hospital family.

“In many ways the outlook is better than it was because of the amazing response to ‘lock-down’ in the Southwest.

“The Nightingale Hospital Exeter has been designed to be flexible to support the recovery of our hospitals after a period where we have not been able to provide ‘usual services’.”

Philippa Slinger, the NHS chief executive leading the development of the hospital in Exeter, added: “Getting the new hospital open this quickly is a huge task but all involved are working hard to get it completed.

“We remain determined to ensure it is built so that it can be used for patients whether they are very sick or if they need less intensive care – including early rehabilitation after they have been unwell.

“The partnership between the NHS, partner agencies, the military and contractors so far has been second to none and I thank everyone involved.”


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