A hospital trust has bought its local Nightingale Hospital to get surgery waiting lists for the county down.
The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust has purchased the facility on behalf of and supported by other nearby trusts.
It is based on the former Homebase site in Sowton Industrial Estate in the city and treated 250 patients during the pandemic.
The trust said it was unable to disclose the exact price paid for the building but it cost £11million to build. Insiders familiar with the sale say it was in line with ‘market prices’.
Six other Nightingale temporary hospitals built across England were closed in the spring, having seen relatively few patients through the pandemic.
But the Devon site had continued to be used by Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust has bought its own local Nightingale hospital
The purchase will allow the county’s other trusts to use it to cut down surgery waiting lists
The purchase was supported by Devon’s other NHS trusts and the NHS centrally. RD&E’s board papers stated the decision was taken after health chiefs concluded that buying the site ‘offered best value for money’.
The facility will be used for several types of elective care as the NHS grapples with an increasing backlog of patients. They include diagnostics and orthopaedic, ophthalmology and rheumatology operations.
In addition to treating inpatients, the hospital has also hosted overseas nurse training for three trusts and supported two vaccination studies.
A spokesperson for the NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter told MailOnline: ‘Over the last year, the NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter has been an invaluable resource, supporting care across the Devon and wider South West community.
It is based on the former Homebase site in Sowton Industrial Estate in Exeter city centre
The hospital cost £11million to build and treated 250 patients during the Covid pandemic
‘As well as caring for nearly 250 patients with COVID-19 from across three counties in the height of the pandemic, the NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter has also provided over 6,000 important diagnostic tests to local people, supported the delivery of two COVID-19 vaccine studies, and hosted overseas nurse training for three local NHS Trusts.
‘The NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter will now be used to further reduce waiting times for certain operations.
As well as continuing to provide diagnostic services, planning is underway for the Nightingale Exeter to host orthopaedic, ophthalmology, and rheumatology services.
‘We are delighted that we can continue the hospital’s legacy and further support care across our region.
‘We’d like to thank every single person who’s played a part in our Nightingale – from the thousands of people who converted the former retail site into a fully functioning hospital in just eight weeks, to the hundreds of staff, volunteers and military personnel who have provided care here – and in other local NHS organisations – over the last year.’