Exeter Nightingale hospital to start treating coronavirus patients

A sign for Exeter's Nightingale hospital, which has been built in a former Homebase store.

The Nightingale hospital in Exeter is to start treating patients with coronavirus.

The 116-bed facility, which was built in a former Homebase store earlier this year, will admit its first patients from 26 November.

They will be transferred from the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, which an NHS spokesperson described as “very busy”.

ITV News West Country exclusively reported earlier this week that plans were being made to open the hospital before Christmas.

"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," the spokesperson added.

Government figures show the number of Covid-19 patients in South West hospitals has steadily risen in recent weeks.

The hospital under construction.

Data shows 34 patients were reported as being in hospital on October 1, jumping to 437 on November 1.

Figures for November 24 list 968 confirmed Covid-19 patients in hospital, and 70 patients reported on the same day were in mechanical ventilation beds.

Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw described the announcement as “very good news”.

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