Urgent repairs costing up to £60m are required at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in order to prevent significant disruption to patient care, it’s been revealed.
Officials from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board met yesterday to discuss serious infrastructure issues at the facility on Croesnewydd Road.
A report published by the board said the ageing nature of the buildings had led to to the supply of power, water, heating and medical gas being obstructed on several occasions in recent years.
In 2017, a leaking roof and ventilation failures at the hospital’s day surgery and endoscopy unit resulted in an emergency closure affecting almost 2,000 patients.
It meant the board had to fork out £1.6m in order to rent theatre space in England, as well as hiring two mobile units.
Senior figures said problems were beginning to occur more frequently with three complete power-outages in the last two-and-a-half years.
As a result, they have drawn up a business case for improvements worth between £50m to £60m to prevent further disruption to front-line services.
In a report, Rod Taylor director of estates and facilities, said: “The fundamental issue which this case seeks to address is as follows: there is a high and increasing risk of physical infrastructure failure at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital, which could have an adverse impact on patient care.
“The underlying cause of this risk is the age and condition of the estate.
“As outlined earlier, of all of the health board’s estate, the Wrexham Maelor campus will take the most investment to bring it up to modern standards.
“The overall poor condition of the site includes major engineering obsolescence, which is now resulting in frequent breakdowns.
“As time passes the likelihood of more, and more significant, failures will only increase without substantial investment.”
The health board currently spends approximately £700,000 per year on maintaining the hospital.
It highlighted a rough estimate of £54m for the outlined repairs, but a larger amount of £284m is needed to bring the site up to modern standards.
It is anticipated that £14m will be required to replace the hospital’s existing electrical system, while £23m has been earmarked for ventilation upgrades.
Around 35,000 inpatients and 260,000 outpatients are treated at the hospital each year.
However, officials said it was running at full capacity with average bed occupancy levels reaching 94 per cent on acute wards, compared to the 85 per cent figure recommended by the Wales Audit Office.
Speaking at the meeting held at Conwy Business Centre in Llandudno Junction, Mark Wilkinson, executive director of planning and performance, said: “This is the first part of our commitment to redevelop Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
“This business case seeks to address some of our highest and most immediate risks that we have on the site.
“We’ve seen over the last couple of years a disproportionate number of power outages that clearly have the potential to impact on services at the Wrexham Maelor site.
“This business case seeks approval for £54m and it is a revenue neutral business case.”
Board members unanimously agreed to approve the business case for submission to the Welsh Government.
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).