Welsh health board opens surge facility at University Hospital of Wales

Lakeside Wing to provide temporary beds for winter pressures and COVID-19 patients following closure of field hospital

The unit brings staff together under one roof and follows the decommissioning of the COVID-19 field hospital at the Principality Stadium

A new temporary surge facility has opened at the University Hospital of Wales’s (UHW) Lakeside Wing, offering support for patients who need rehabilitation or are recovering from a long period of acute illness.

The first 166 beds are now open in the Northern Wing, which will be adopting a multi-disciplinary model of care, ensuring staff including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, healthcare support workers, and registered nurses will work together under one roof.

Len Richards, chief executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, which runs the hospital, said: “To have the first 166 beds available to accept step-down patients from this week demonstrates the hard work and determination that our contractors and colleagues have demonstrated to make this achievable.

This additional capacity – and the remaining beds to become available in early February – could be essential in combating potential future peaks in admission over the difficult weeks and months to come

“As we face a challenging winter and grapple with the second peak of the Coronavirus pandemic, our patients and the public can be safe in the knowledge that the Lakeside Wing is ready in case we need it.”

The U-shaped modular building was developed by Darwin Group as part of a £33m investment by the Welsh Government following a joint decision between the health board, Welsh Rugby Union, and the Welsh Government to decommission the use of the Principality Stadium as a COVID-19 field hospital.

Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, said: “Establishing sufficient additional bed capacity across Wales is a crucial part of our strategy to manage the pressures on our NHS caused by the pandemic.

“This additional capacity – and the remaining beds to become available in early February – could be essential in combating potential future peaks in admission over the difficult weeks and months to come.”

This is not the first project milestone for the UHW Lakeside Wing.

On 25 November, Darwin Group completed the first phase of construction of the new £33m building and successfully handed Phase 1 of the building to the health board.

Construction began on 12 September and 280 building modules were installed in just 70 days.

The project is believed to signify the fastest-ever delivery of a large building for clinical or education use across the UK to date and, when considering a ratio of size to speed, it is Darwin Group’s most-efficient delivery ever.

Located at the area outside of Lakeside at UHW, the short-term surge facility will be completed with the addition of a Southern wing in early February.

Once complete, the temporary facility will accommodate up to 400 hospital beds.

As we face a challenging winter and grapple with the second peak of the Coronavirus pandemic, our patients and the public can be safe in the knowledge that the Lakeside Wing is ready in case we need it

This, coupled with the additional 200 beds across other health board sites, enables the organisation to meet the winter and COVID-19 capacity requirements as predicted by Welsh Government and local intelligence data and modelling.

Charles Pierce, managing director at Darwin Group, said: “This project has only grown in significance since our initial instruction from the health board now that we find ourselves in a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

“We’re delighted to have delivered the first phase, allowing additional hospital beds to become available for the University Hospital of Wales and the patients it serves.”

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