Exeter Nightingale Hospital will begin treating coronavirus patients from today (Thursday, November 26).
Patients with Covid-19 are expected to be transferred from the Royal Devon and Exeter (RD&E) Hospital later today, and moved into the purpose-built open-plan ward at Sowton.
The Exeter Nightingale Hospital had been on standby for coronavirus patients since its completions in July, and was being used as a centre for cancer scans and tests to help tackle a wait list backlog from the first lockdown, when treatments were delayed or stopped.
The NHS said the city’s 116-bed Nightingale Hospital would begin accepting patients because the RD&E was ‘very busy’.
Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw welcomed the announcement, saying the move would take the pressure off the RD&E and other local NHS services as they coped with ‘unprecedented’ Covid-19 pressures.
A Nightingale Hospital spokesperson said: “The Nightingale Exeter will accept patients – who will be transferred from the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, which is very busy.
“We would ask that the public continue to observe the Government’s advice on observing the lockdown and social distancing so that we can keep patients safe.”
Earlier this year it was revealed that 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 were recovering after a period in hospital.
It offers extra capacity so the existing five hospitals in the region can continue to operate other essential clinical services.
The NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter will care mostly for patients from Devon and Cornwall but can also take patients from other parts of the region.
The hospital, on the former Homebase site, is run by The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.