Coronavirus: Exeter Nightingale to get first patients

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Exeter Nightingale HospitalImage source, NHS
Image caption,
The 116-bed hospital has also been used for vaccine trials

Exeter's Nightingale hospital will open to coronavirus patients for the first time on Thursday.

The emergency field hospital will get patients from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital "which is very busy", said an NHS spokesperson.

It is one of seven Nightingale Hospitals built in England, set up in the spring as an insurance policy in case the NHS became overwhelmed.

The 116-bed hospital has also been used for vaccine trials.

On Twitter, Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw said the opening was "very good news".

He added it will "take pressure off the RD&E hospitals and other local NHS services".

The Labour MP noted he recently raised the issue with Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

A total of 540 people have died with coronavirus in South West hospitals, with four dying in Devon on Wednesday.

A Nightingale hospital spokesperson said: "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."

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