Published date: 13 May 2020

Supporting the COVID-19 response by recommissioning ward space and accommodating testing units


  • Site: a range of sites across the Devon and Exeter area, requiring new space and services
  • Customers/stakeholders: NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Devon Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP), Royal Devon Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RDE)
  • NHSPS representatives: James Page, Regional Partnership Director (South West); Alan White, Principal Portfolio Optimisation Manager; Lewis Taylor, Facilities Services Manager; Simon Waters, Senior Facilities Services Manager

The challenge

As part of a working group with the CCG, STP and RDE, NHSPS identified a range of sites (above) within the Exeter and Devon area that could provide additional bed spaces to support the COVID-19 response.

Each site had former vacant ward space, which could be recommissioned at pace and at relatively modest cost.

In addition to bed space, there was a need for ‘drive-thru’ assessment facilities to be set up at both Ottery St. Mary and Honiton Community Hospitals.

The solution

NHSPS quickly mobilised this programme to ensure that each site could be handed over to the CCG and RDE on a phased basis. 

Working with a team of suppliers, we ran a complete refurbishment of the vacant wards, including: replacement and upgrade of taps and wash basins; recommissioning of nurse call, electric and lighting systems; installing fire compartments, signage and doors; and running a deep clean of all areas.

This was paired with regular updates and progress reports for our NHS partners throughout the commissioning process. 

We provided and installed barriers for the drive-thru testing facility and RDE provided the signage. 

The impact

Within the space of three weeks, we were able to recommission ward space providing 75 bed spaces across the three sites, handing fully compliant and redecorated space to our NHS partners.

This will provide much needed decant space to the CCG and RDE as they develop clinical planning for the region, and support the creation of safe environments of patients and staff alike. The drive-thru testing facility will similarly support the local health economy as they try to maximise much needed testing availability.


We recommissioned and reconfigured space across our estate during COVID-19 to provide additional capacity for treatment and testing, delivering space for over 1,000 beds. See our infographic for more information.