Washington's Nightingale Hospital North East to remain open until end of March 2021 in case of a second wave of coronavirus
The 460-bed hospital officiallyopened on May 5 in case the number of patients with Covid-19 became too high for the region’s hospitals to treat.
Health chiefs have always referred to the hospital as an ‘insurance policy’ saying the best case scenario is that it never sees a patient admitted.
Four months on since the opening, the facility, which is near Washington’s Nissan plant, has not yet admitted a single patient to be treated as the North East’s hospitals have not been overrun by the demands of the pandemic.
The hospital will stay open until the end of March 2021 as health chiefs say it will remain open as long as it is required to provide support in the event of another surge in Covid-19 cases.
A spokesman for the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which operates the facility, said: “The Nightingale North East is part of a nationwide effort being coordinated by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care as part of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"While we have not yet had to use this facility, it will remain available for as long as it is required to support all of the main hospitals in our region in the event of another surge of Covid-19 cases.
"The hospital is designed to provide care for patients who have already been intubated and ventilated and require further intensive care treatment for Covid-19.”