The home of Welsh Rugby, Principality Stadium, has been set up as a temporary hospital providing some 2,000 extra beds to NHS Wales as part of scenario planning by the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
Welsh Rugby Union/WRU
The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) made the stadium available to the Welsh Government, with clinicians and managers working together with the Principality Stadium team and a range of specialist contractors to create the new facility.
Martyn Phillips, CEO of the Welsh Rugby Union, which owns and operates Principality Stadium, said:
We have made the entire Principality Stadium available to be used based on NHS requirements, including hospitality areas and a variety of further rooms and facilities.
It is a privilege to be able to offer our services, facilities and a significant number of operational staff, at their individual choice, to help at this time of national emergency.
We have made advanced plans to transform relevant spaces into fully functional hospital environments, working closely with Levy UK, who are responsible for overseeing similar transitions elsewhere.
Len Richards Cardiff and Vale University Health Board CEO said:
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has been planning and making preparations based upon the modelling and predictions of numbers of patients and admissions across a range of different scenarios, including best to reasonable case scenarios., a statement issued this evening read.
The assumptions have been well documented following publication by Imperial College, London last week and as a Health Board we felt it incumbent to ensure that we plan and prepare for all scenarios.
It is difficult looking at the numbers to appreciate the size and the scale of the task ahead of us in the NHS. However, we have been using the past few weeks' wisely in order to put structures and processes in place across our main hospital sites, University Hospital Wales and University Hospital Llandough. In addition to this we have secured the Principality Stadium, Cardiff as a temporary field hospital with the capacity to hold up to an additional 2,000 beds.
Principality Stadium has undertaken an emergency transformation using their terratrakplus turf protection system to become the 'Dragons Heart Hospital' during the Covid19 pandemic. Image, courtesy: Mark Lewis
I understand the concern that this will cause, not only in the community but among my staff too. However, we are planning on the basis of what we think we might need to ensure we are as ready as we can be. I sincerely hope we don't need to use all of the capacity, but it is far better to have developed plans based upon the scientific evidence and modelling of the experts.
The staffing levels and type of patients received at the hospital is part of our planning and is constantly being refined in line with the trajectory of the Coronavirus. The facility will allow us to free up capacity at our other hospital sites so that we can continue to provide services to patients with other health conditions.
Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething added:
Health boards are working closely with Welsh Government to take all possible steps to prepare Wales for the coronavirus and that involves preparing for the worst-case scenario modelling. I have made £8m in capital funding available to Cardiff and Vale to help with that planning for hospital and community beds.
Cardiff and Vale, along with health boards across Wales, are working hard to get ready to look after and treat people who become sick and are looking at venues like the Principality Stadium to provide space for hospital and community beds in the coming weeks.
Speaking about their involvement in the stadium's re-purposing, Robert Else of Terraplas, manufacturers of terratrakplus, said:
We're very proud of the Principality Stadium and their employees working tirelessly on this vital scheme for the NHS.
The stadium has undertaken an emergency transformation, using their terratrakplus turf protection system from Terraplas to become the 'Dragons Heart Hospital' during the Covid19 pandemic.
Fantastic work by all the individuals, volunteers and companies involved. We wish them all the best of luck and hoping everyone stays safe in these unprecedented times.
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