University Hospital of Wales celebrates 40 years
Wales' largest hospital is celebrating 40 years since the Queen officially opened the building to the community.
The University Hospital of Wales had its first patients on 19 November 1971, and now sees some 400,000 a year.
The hospital was one of the first in the UK to combine patient care with teaching medical staff on site.
Cardiff and Vale Health Board chief executive Jan Williams said the hospital had gone from "strength to strength" in health care and research.
UHW IN A WEEK
- 4,000 outpatient visits
- 955 operations
- Nearly 3,000 emergency admissions
- 125 babies are born
- 1-2 sets of twins arrive
- 35,000 people pass through the main entrance
- Source: UHW (all figures are averages)
Plans for a university hospital were first mooted shortly after World War II, and a number of sites were proposed.
Cardiff council offered the Heath Park site, which was chosen because of its ease of access from all parts of the city and beyond.
In 1953, the Welsh Board of Health and University Grants Committee devised the idea of an architectural competition to find a builder, but funding concerns prevented progress until 1959.
Work at the hospital site began in 1963 on the dental hospital, with the first dental students starting in 1965.
The main hospital building was begun in 1966, and took four years to build and another year to equip.
The hospital site has developed further in the years since, with the Children's Hospital of Wales opening next to the main building in 2006.
After four decades of service, there's plenty to celebrate at the University Hospital of Wales. But like any 40-year-old, there's also a nagging concern that middle age has brought its own pains.
Financial worries are nothing new in the NHS - the UHW project was delayed for several years in the 1950s because of concerns over the cost.
But, as the chief executive of the University Health Board recently pointed out, the current position is 'grave' and 'unprecedented'.
Managers need to find nearly £90m worth of savings before April, and recruitment has been frozen.
It's probably not what anyone had hoped for back in 1971. And yet even the current problems are, in part, a symptom of success for hospitals like UHW. Advances in medicine and improved treatments mean people are living longer and expecting more from the NHS - and so the demand on places like this are greater than ever before.
A total of 8,028 people work at UHW, including 1,040 medical and dental staff and 2,348 qualified nurses.
Approximately 400,000 people are seen at the hospital each year as in-patients, outpatients, emergencies at A&E and to give birth.
Mrs Williams said: "We owe a huge debt to those who designed and commissioned UHW and to all the staff who have played their part over the years in building its reputation for excellent care, training and research.
"Over the last 40 years, UHW has played an ever more important role in health care, both for the local population, and for people from across Wales, who have needed its specialist and tertiary services.
"These have gone from strength to strength and the hospital has a well deserved international reputation including the fields of dermatology, haematology and nephrology.
"Today, UHW is not only the focal point for everyday healthcare for local people, it is on the world stage for its collaborative research work with Cardiff University in fields including primary care, genetics and psychological medicine."