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27th March 2020

Health Board secure Principality Stadium as Field Hospital in plans for tackling Covid-19

BY: Nathan Spackman

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has this evening announced they have secured the Principality Stadium, for use as a field hospital in plans for tackling Covid-19.

The Principality Stadium will be turned into a 2,000-bed hospital to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Welsh Rugby Union had made the stadium available for use by the Welsh Government earlier this week.

CEO, Len Richards, announces the step in the following statement:“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.  

“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.” 

He continued: “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.  

“Clinicians and managers are currently working with the Principality Stadium team and a range of specialist contractors to create the new facility at pace. The work has already started with teams assigned to adapt the home of Welsh rugby to a temporary hospital - a significant task in scale and the timing of the virus.” 

He concluded by stating: “I would like to thank everyone for their continued support of the NHS staff through an unprecedented and challenging time in health. Also across our society and communities: Please help us to help you by staying home, washing your hands and heeding the clinical advice to keep you and your families safe.” 

Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething said:
“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.” 

Martyn Phillips, CEO of the Welsh Rugby Union, – which owns and operates Principality Stadium added “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 and 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.” 

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