Page last updated: 5 May, 2020, 4:52pm
Frequently Asked Questions
What is NHS Nightingale Hospital North East?
NHS Nightingale Hospital North East is a new temporary hospital, based at Sunderland International Innovation Centre, 6 International Drive, Sunderland, SR5 3FH.
The hospital has been built to provide access to 460 additional critical care beds for confirmed Covid-19 patients from across the north east, as part of the national response to the pandemic.
It is not a conventional walk-in hospital – patients will be transferred from other intensive care units across the region and will stay at the Nightingale until they are well enough to be transferred back to their local hospital or discharged.
What are the criteria for patients to be transferred to the hospital?
The Nightingale Hospital will only treat patients who have already tested positive for Covid-19 and has been built to provide the highest level of critical care for these patients.
The majority of Covid-19 patients needing hospital care will receive it in other hospitals in the region. The purpose of the new hospital is to supplement bed space, by providing extra capacity across the North East and North Cumbria.
Some patients with more complex needs, who require a broader range of specialist care, will likely remain at the original hospital they were admitted to.
How does a patient get admitted to the hospital?
There is no direct access to the hospital for patients. Patients can only attend if they are transferred from another hospital and will arrive by ambulance having been assessed and treated in their local hospital first.
No patients, even if they are clearly unwell, can be seen or treated if they arrive at the hospital themselves – they must be referred to from another hospital in our area.
How would I be told if my relative or loved one was moved to the Nightingale Hospital?
You would be told of any move / transfer of care by the hospital where your relative or loved one was originally admitted.
Staff at the Nightingale Hospital would then ensure regular updates and information about patient progress.
How will families receive information about any loved ones who are in the hospital?
A dedicated 24/7 telephone line will be established for relatives to call for updates.
Will visiting or gifts for patients be allowed?
Given the need to protect healthy individuals from Covid-19, and also to follow infection control guidance, visitors will not be allowed onsite at the NHS Nightingale Hospital. However, staff will do all they can to ensure family members are kept informed about their loved ones.
Unfortunately, it will not be possible to accept any items or gifts for patients who are being treated at the NHS Nightingale Hospital.
Will patients who recover be cared for in a different place?
A number of beds can be used for patients who have come off ventilation and are recovering, before they are discharged.
Once discharged, any follow up care will be provided by the local NHS hospital from where the patient was originally referred.
Who runs the hospital?
It is managed and operated by Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, the lead NHS organisation working on behalf of NHS partners across the north east.
NHS Nightingale North East’s executive lead is Martin Wilson, who is also chief operating officer at Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust.
The hospital will be staffed by a range of NHS colleagues, drawn from teams across the region, including: nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacy and catering, and some who have returned to work from retirement, to help with the Covid-19 pandemic response.
How many staff will work at the hospital?
The number of staff will depend on patient needs, but the NHS Nightingale Hospital North East at capacity could employ around 2000 people, ranging from doctors and nurses, to porters and administrative staff. Staff will come from NHS and other health care organisations across the region, supported by screened and selected volunteer staff.
How many beds are there?
The facility can provide up to 460 additional critical care beds for the region. Protocols for transfer will ensure patients can be moved safely between the new, temporary hospital and other hospitals, to make sure individuals are treated in the right place, at the right time.
Will staff at Nightingale have all of the personal protective equipment (PPE) they require?
Yes, our number one priority is the protection of staff and the patients in their care. As things stand, we have sufficient quantities of PPE and are working hard to plan and prepare for future needs. It’s also really important for staff to wear their PPE correctly, so the new hospital incudes purposefully designed spaces where staff will be supported in the ‘donning and doffing’ of their equipment.
Is this hospital carrying out the same function as other Nightingales that have been built around the country?
As part of the nationwide effort being coordinated by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care, the hospitals share many of the same functions but there is flexibility according to scale, demand and logistics. Wherever possible, critical care of Covid-19 patients will be delivered within existing acute hospitals.
How long do you envisage the hospital will be open?
This is part of a nationwide effort being coordinated by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care. The facility will remain available for use as long as it is required.
Why was Sunderland International Innovation Centre chosen as the venue for the hospital?
The venue was chosen because of its capacity to cater for large numbers of patients, its relatively central location in the region and its proximity to both the A19 and A1.
Will the site be safe afterwards?
Completely, yes. When this is over, the building will be deep cleaned and restored to its original layout.