Coronavirus: Where are the extra hospital beds in Wales going?

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media captionCameras got a first look inside the field hospital at the Principality Stadium

Thousands of extra beds have been set up - many in sports and leisure facilities - to take the pressure off hospitals in Wales during the coronavirus pandemic.

NHS bed capacity is being "effectively doubled" in response to the coronavirus outbreak and NHS Wales chief executive Dr Andrew Goodall said 6,000 additional beds were being set up.

Health boards have teamed up with councils and business as part of emergency planning to look at different scenarios, depending on the numbers of patients who will need to be treated or helped in their recovery.

Here is a look at the picture across Wales:

Cardiff and Vale

Cardiff's Principality Stadium has become a field hospital, with up to 2,000 beds.

Health board chief executive Len Richards said: "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."

image captionYsbyty Calon Y Ddraig or Dragon's Heart Hospital

The hospital will treat Covid-19 patients who do not require critical care, beginning with those who are recovering.

Facilities at Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig or Dragon's Heart Hospital - as it has been named - include mobile X-ray and CT scanners.

The health board has been given £8m capital funding for the project and the first phase opened on 12 April, with 300 beds. But the first 12 patients were not admitted until the end of the month.

Stuart Walker, medical director, said they were preparing for "potential future increases" in demand in virus cases, related to the relaxation of social distancing measures, as well as non-Covid unscheduled care "and indeed to allow us to undertake more urgent and emergency scheduled care".

He added: "Those increases may materialise to some degree over the next few weeks.

"We will provide them with treatment, rehabilitation and social support to get them home."

media captionA sports centre in Bangor is being turned into a field hospital - in just 16 days

Betsi Cadwaladr

Wales' biggest health board is setting up three field hospitals, providing a total of 1,036 extra beds.

Venue Cymru in Llandudno, Conwy, has had its theatre, conference centre and arena transformed to provide an additional 350 beds for patients with respiratory complaints. It will be called Ysbyty'r Enfys - The Rainbow Hospital - for the duration of its new role.

In Gwynedd, there is capacity for up to 250 patients at Bangor University's Canolfan Brailsford sport and leisure centre.

An extra 80 beds are also being set up at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, for use at the end of April.

In Flintshire, Deeside Leisure Centre will provide a potential 436 extra beds, which will also be used by patients from Wrexham.

image copyrightReuters
image captionWork to create a temporary hospital at the Scarlets rugby stadium in Llanelli

Hywel Dda

Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, has been is being converted to offer 350 extra beds. This includes setting up bays with electricity and plumbing, as well as access to catering from stadium kitchens.

Jon Daniels, Scarlets general manager, said: "When something comes along like this that's fairly unique, we have the opportunity to give something back to our community."

Space will also be provided at Carmarthen leisure centre and the Selwyn Samuel Centre, Llanelli.

Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire is to become a recovery centre. It will provide beds for 144 patients to recuperate after being discharged from hospital.

Site owner William McNamara said: "10 days ago we were a holiday resort and now we're not.

"It's had a huge impact on our business - for the first time in 11 years, there's not a single holidaymaker on site."

In Ceredigion, Plascrug leisure centre and Penweddig School in Aberystwyth and Cardigan leisure centre are the first places being converted.

Dr Phil Kloer, medical director, said: "Our European colleagues have provided feedback that patient flow and throughput is a critical factor in response to Covid-19 pressures."

image copyrightPA Media
image captionWorkers lay flooring during the construction of a field hospital at Llandarcy sports academy in Neath

Swansea Bay

Two sites are being converted to provide up to 1,340 temporary beds at the Llandarcy Academy of Sport and Bay Studios in Fabian Way, Swansea.

The sports academy in Neath Port Talbot - normally used by the Ospreys rugby squad as a training base and by local student - will have capacity for 340 beds.

"The Ospreys have always been rooted in the community and region and we were happy to help in any way to ease the pressure on the NHS and to assist in dealing with coronavirus," said Andrew Millward, Ospreys' managing director.

image copyrightSwansea Bay UHB
image captionThere will be space for 340 hospital beds at Llandarcy

The privately-owned Bay Studios has the potential for 1,000 more beds.

Tracy Myhill, chief executive of Swansea Bay University Health Board, said she was "grateful and proud'" of how communities have come together.

These will be in addition to extra beds created at Morriston, Singleton and Neath Port Talbot hospitals, as outpatients and other clinical and public areas are redesigned.

There are no plans to provide intensive care beds in either of the field hospitals, as the most seriously ill patients will be cared for in the main hospitals.

image copyrightLaing O'Rourke
image captionThe new Grange Hospital from the air last autumn - it could take its first patients a year early

Aneurin Bevan

Parts of the new £350m Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran will be opened a year early to provide up to an additional 350 beds, if needed.

There is £10m funding in place for the commissioning work.

Emergency trauma surgery is continuing at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport and Nevill Hall in Abergavenny, but some operations are going to St Woolos Hospital in Newport.

image copyrightCwm Taf Health Board
image captionWork has started on turning the rugby training facility at Hensol into a field hospital

Cwm Taf Morgannwg

The health board said has managed to identify 450 extra beds by repurposing community hospital wards and using nursing and care homes.

Routine surgery, outpatient clinics and appointments have been postponed since 20 March.

Its critical care capacity has also increased to 75 beds and it is aiming to increase this to 150.

A 43-bedded specialist respiratory high care unit - known as the Enfys (Rainbow) ward - has opened at the Princess of Wales hospital in Bridgend.

A field hospital is also being converted at the Welsh Rugby Union training facility at The Vale Resort, which will provide 290 extra beds.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council's Ty Trevithick offices in Abercynon will also be converted by mid-April, with capacity for up to 150 beds.

"It is estimated that Cwm Taf Morgannwg will require 1,000 emergency hospital beds to respond during the peak of this pandemic, and this therefore requires the local health board to think outside the box," said council leader Andrew Morgan.

The health board hopes to confirm another field hospital location soon.

Dr Sharon Hopkins, health board chief executive, said: "The field hospitals will be vitally important in providing care to patients and communities in the coming weeks and months.

"As this work progresses, some patients will receive their care in a different location to their usual hospital to reduce the level of risk of exposure to Covid-19."


Although Powys does not have any major hospitals, its health board said it was creating about 100 new beds in the county's community hospitals to prepare for an increase in cases.

Additional beds and ventilators will be set up at three hospitals, in Brecon, Llandrindod Wells and Welshpool.

Beds will also be added in Bronllys, Builth Wells, Knighton, Llanidloes, Machynlleth, Newtown and Ystradgynlais.

The health board said: "This will allow us to care for more patients in the county with coronavirus - reducing the need for them to be admitted to acute hospital, and bringing them closer to home when they are more stable and no longer need acute hospital care."

But the health board said patients with more serious illnesses will receive specialist treatment in general hospitals in neighbouring counties.

Private healthcare

Meanwhile, NHS Wales confirmed 152 additional beds have been made available from private hospitals.

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