• New hospitals will open in Sunderland, in Wear and Exeter, Devon
  • Sunderland site will have up to 450 beds and Exeter site will have up to 200
  • Expected to open at the end of April or beginning of May

Two further temporary Nightingale hospitals will be opened in the effort to tackle covid-19.

A hospital in Sunderland will provide up to 450 beds in the north east and a site in Exeter will provide up to 200 in the southwest.

The Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing in Washington, Sunderland and the Westpoint Centre in Exeter will be transformed into hospitals over the coming weeks.

Both facilities are expected to open towards the end of April or the beginning of May.

Chief nursing officer Ruth May confirmed the new hospitals at Friday’s daily government covid-19 press briefing.

HSJ has previously reported on how the opening of the site in the North East was placed on pause, amid a debate over demand for it.

The new sites add to the five already announced in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Harrogate.

NHS England national medical director professor Stephen Powis, said: “The new sites – including the two announced today in Sunderland and Exeter – will give the NHS the best chance of ensuring coronavirus patients needing specialist care can get it, wherever they live.”

“It is an incredible feat, but the key aim is to reduce the number of patients needing them, so I urge everyone to take sensible steps to reduce transmission of this virus.”

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the new hospitals ”will provide backup and support for NHS hospitals across the South West and the North East, should it be needed.”

Other efforts to increase local bed capacity include the reopening of community hospitals in Staffordshire.