Exeter’s Westpoint Arena set to be temporary coronavirus emergency hospital

A new NHS Nightingale hospital is being set up at Exeter’s Westpoint Arena to treat COVID-19 patients from across Devon and Cornwall, Devon Live understands.

Colleen Smith  www.devonlive.com

It is believed work is ongoing at Westpoint Arena, on the outskirts of Exeter near Clyst St Mary, ahead of an official announcement.

It is understood that work has begun on the Devon and Cornwall NHS Nightingale hospital which will have around 400 beds.

Westpoint – the site for the annual Devon County Show – is the largest exhibition and entertainment venue in the South West with an indoor venue for up to 7,500 people. It is located near Exeter Airport.

It is not yet known if the area will include a temporary morgue similar to the one recently set up in Kingskerswell.

The NHS last night confirmed that new Nightingale hospitals are being built in Bristol and Harrogate. The Government say NHS Hospitals across the country have already freed up more than 33,000 beds, the equivalent of 50 new hospitals, and there are 8,000 extra beds in the private sector.

But the Nightingales are on standby in case these are not enough to cope.

The military helped to set up London’s Nightingale hospital, which so far has 500 beds in place with space for another 3,500.

Staff from across the NHS will be working there, including student nurses, medical students who have started work early and former doctors, nurses and other staff who have come out of retirement.

Similar hospitals are also due to open at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre and Manchester’s Central Complex.

A 4,000-bed facility is being opened at London’s ExCel centre. In Bristol, 1,000 beds will be available at the University of the West of England…….

A nearby hotel – the Hampton by Hilton at Exeter Airport – has been converted to accommodate discharged hospital patients awaiting care home placements.

The hotel was closed on Tuesday March 24 following the lockdown to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Devon County Council confirmed the hotel is being utilised to help ease the pressure on local hospitals and care homes who are attempting to cope with an increase in demand on its services.


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