Kettering General Hospital has opened its 18-bed temporary ward block that was craned in to the Rothwell Road car park during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Captain Thomas Moore Ward will be used as a medical step-down ward, supported by a team of 40 staff, for patients due to be discharged from hospital and opened for business earlier this week.
The ward will operate for at least six months while the trust continues to develop plans for a phased return to more normal working.
It will support patients with a wide range of medical conditions, including some who may have recovered from Covid-19, who are now well and ready to leave hospital. It is not for patients who are still acutely unwell.
The extra capacity it provides will also allow the hospital building to make more space for social distancing.
Following a staff vote, the Trust sought permission to name the ward after Thomas Moore through the Captain Tom Foundation. The 100-year-old raised £33m for the NHS during lockdown. He has since started his own foundation to help combat loneliness, support hospices and help those facing bereavement.
In a statement, the Foundation said: “Captain Tom and his family are very grateful for your support. They have been truly humbled by the gratitude and love they have received from far and wide.
“Tom has been overwhelmed with the numerous kind offers of honorary membership and titles. He is honoured to accept these.”
Kettering General Hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, Jo Fawcus, said: “We have made a lot of changes to the way we work during the pandemic and many of these will need to be maintained for months to come.
“One key change has been to ensure that all of our wards have appropriate social distancing – reducing the number of beds used in some areas.
“The 18-bed Thomas Moore ward will help us to offset some of this."