Preparations under way to get Nightingale North East ready to be be used 'within weeks'

Health experts here in the North East will decide when its Nightingale Hospital is put to work – although the level of patients remains “well below” the height of the first peak.

Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 4:34 pm

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It came in a briefing from Steve Powis, the medical director of NHS England, who noted a rise in infection rates across the North, stating the sites would soon need to be ready to accept patients if necessary.

He outlined what support they will provide and when they are needed will be the decision of local clinicians as he spoke ahead of a briefing by Boris Johnson, where the Prime Minister set out the new three-tier system.

The Nightingale Hospital North East has been set up just a short distance from the A19 near Nissan.

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Details about how the sites will be staffed are yet to be revealed.

The Wearside centre is based in the Sunderland International Innovation Centre on the site of the Internation Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) near Washington.

The project is being led by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and can provide up to 460 ventilated beds for Covid-19 patients.

Inside the hospital as work was ongoing to prepare it for patients.

It was officially launched in May by the Countess of Wessex and television presenters Ant and Dec a month after it first emerged the building would be transformed into the facility.

A spokesperson for the trust today said: “In the North East, we are prepared for an increase in Covid cases and are concerned about rising infection rates and the impact this could have on the NHS.

"Currently, the numbers of patients are well below what we experienced at the height of wave one, plus we now have additional treatments to offer patients.

The hospital was officially opened in May, but is yet to take in and patients.

“While we have been asked to prepare for the next phase, we still hope that we won’t have to use any beds at all in the Nightingale in the North East.

"If we do, it will be based on local clinical advice and expertise, in each patient’s best interests.

“Covid-19 remains a serious illness, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to do their bit to protect each other. Remembering to follow the rules – washing your hands, wearing a face covering, and making space – continues to be vitally important to save lives.”

A message from the editor:

Inside the North East's Nightingale hospital as it was first prepared ready for patients. Image by Getty.

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