Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales could be replaced by 2030
Wales' largest hospital could be replaced in the next 10 years as part of a shake-up of health services.
Cardiff's 1,000-bed University Hospital of Wales, built in 1971, is "no longer fit for purpose", the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board says.
It has yet to be decided whether the hospital will remain in the Heath area of the city or be built elsewhere.
But the head of the local patient watchdog warned that the current site was "quite congested".
The board's strategic plan to cope with an expected rise in demand for health services from an ageing population was presented to leaders of the community health council (CHC) on Thursday.
Abigail Harris, executive director of strategic planning, said a senior member of staff was being appointed to work on plans for its main hospital, "because it is generally recognised that the main building is no longer fit for purpose".
CHC chief officer Stephen Allen said the watchdog was "excited" at the prospect of a replacement for the current hospital, which he said was "showing its age".
But he had doubts about building a new hospital on the same site.
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"People use the UHW as a rat-run to get to the link road," he said.
"Even the health board has said the site is quite congested currently."
The new hospital would take over some acute critical services currently being provided at University Hospital Llandough, to the west of Cardiff, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Llandough would then become a facility for "ill but stable" patients, along with mental health inpatient services and some specialist rehabilitation units.
Three new health and wellbeing centres would be created at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, Barry Hospital, and Whitchurch Hospital in Cardiff for outpatient, diagnostic and community health services.
Smaller hubs in Penarth and the Cardiff districts of Ely and Llanedeyrn would offer primary care such as GPs, dentists, midwives and health visitors.
The health board hopes that in the future most people would be cared for either in their own homes or in primary care and community facilities.
A business case for the new general hospital is expected to be in place by 2026 but, as yet, no price tag has been put on the project.