ESSEX University is repurposing its sports hall into a clinic to treat NHS patients who are displaying mild symptoms of coronavirus or other illnesses.

The new clinic will be staffed by doctors and support staff from the Colte Partnership, which runs 11 surgeries in Colchester and Tendring, including the Colchester campus practice.

It will host pre-booked appointments for patients with symptoms of the virus who have not been tested but may also need medical attention for other conditions.

Each patient will have already had a virtual appointment with a clinician, where it has been deemed a clinical necessity for them to be examined in person.

The clinic will be open in the afternoons with access strictly controlled to ensure privacy.

Dave Parry, director of sport at Essex, said: “We are proud to be able to support the NHS and the Colte Partnership by offering them the use of the Essex Sport Arena.

“We can all see the soaring demand on NHS resources, so we’re pleased we are able to rise to the challenge to support them. Being able to step-up and make a difference in these difficult times, makes us proud of our place in the community.”

Plans have been approved by the Care Quality Commission, with security fencing being installed free by R G Carter.

Martin Chapman, Colte’s chief operating officer, added: “In these challenging times, it has been critical to quickly implement new methods of patient care and with the fantastic support of the university, we are able to pool our limited resources as a partnership to be able to respond to the needs of our patients and offer them face-to-face appointments whenever clinically necessary.

“It’s important that our patients feel able to continue to be seen whether it is for concerns around Covid-19 or any other ailments they need clinical support with.”

The clinic is set to open on Tuesday and the university says students living on campus will not need to take any additional safety measures.