Sunderland's Nightingale Hospital expected to open next week
Nightingale Hospital North East is days away from completion as health chiefs say the Washington site is expected to open next week.
The launch of the temporary hospital is expected to be next week, although an exact date is yet to have been confirmed.
Teams have worked around the clock to convert the empty industrial-sized building. which will one day be home the Centre of Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (CeSAM).
The hospital will only start taking patients if the region’s hospitals are unable to cope with a potential surge of Covid-19 cases which require hospital treatment so m.
The site has been transformed into a 20-ward hospital, including eight intensive care wards, and gives the North East the capacity to care for another 460 coronavirus patients if hospitals are filled.
But the hope is Nightingale North East will never have to treat a patient as health bosses say the hospital is an ‘insurance policy’.
Martin Wilson, executive lead of NHS Nightingale North East, told the Echo: “We’re building this hospital as an insurance policy and hope that it will never be required.
“The more that we can all do to socially distance and reduce the chances of Covid-19 spreading from one person to the other would reduce the likelihood that we would ever need to open this facility.”
In total, 970 people who had tested positive for coronavirus have died across the North East’s hospital trusts, as of figures published on Tuesday, April 28.
This includes 254 patients at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust hospitals who have sadly died.
The chief executive of Sunderland City Council Patrick Melia said: “I don't think any council has ever dealt with anything like this.
“This is an international crisis and every authority is being challenged by this. This is the biggest thing we have had to deal with. It is a really challenging time."