Posted: Sat 28th Mar 2020

Coronavirus: Deeside businesses asked to support development of a field hospital in North Wales.

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Mar 28th, 2020

Businesses in Deeside have been called upon to source industrial equipment for the development of a field hospital in North Wales, Deeside.com understands. 

Temporary hospitals are being created across the UK to help deal with an expected surge in the number of people being admitted to hospital beds as the coronavirus pandemic peaks. 

East London’s ExCeL convention centre on the banks of the River Thames is being converted into a massive hospital named NHS Nightingale.

It will open next week with an initial 500 beds capacity but can be expanded to 4,000 beds if required.

Military Planners are understood to be working on 10 new field hospitals throughout the UK with Birmingham’s NEC and the Manchester Conference Centre expected to be operational next month.

Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething announced on Friday that Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, is to be used as a field hospital with capacity for up to 2,000 beds costing £8m.

On a smaller scale, Health Boards in Wales appear to be scoping for suitable sites to create temporary hospital wards.

Work is underway to convert part of Scarlets’ training ground in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire into a makeshift hospital ward.

As well as the Parc y Scarlets site, work is temporary hospital wards is underway at Carmarthen Leisure Centre and at the Selwyn Samuel Centre in Llanel.

They will come under the management of doctors and nurses from Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Carmarthenshire Council published the video [below] of construction work taking place at the Scarlets training ground.  

During a Welsh Government press briefing on Thursday, Andrew Goodall, Chief Executive, NHS Wales gave an overview of preparations as COVID-19 continues to spread at pace.

Mr Goodall said, the “NHS has been able to build on existing plans which have been developed over many years for a pandemic.”

“Health organisations in Wales have been preparing both locally and collectively, the NHS in Wales is stepping up its response, progressively increasing capacity across the health care system.”

“We expect the pressure on our health and care system to be significant and visible.”

“We have expanded our critical care capacity from our core bed numbers of 156 to 290.”

Mr Goodall said acute bed sites in Wales are currently at around 40% bed occupancy due the measures taken including cancelling all elective surgery for example.  

“It is at the lowest I can recall, this gives flexibility to admit patients as demand increases.”

“Every Health Board is implementing additional bed or bed equivalent capacity in both hospital and community settings.”

“These are required for us to manage the inevitable increase of COVID-19 patients and the peak which we will experience over the forthcoming weeks.”

Deeside.com has contacted North Wales Health Board, Betsi Cadwaladr about its plans to increase capacity through ‘community settings’ such as temporary wards in sports halls – they are yet to respond.

However, we understand,  local businesses have been asked to source industrial equipment including large extraction fans with the capability to remove air from a “sports hall.”

An email seen by Deeside.com states there has been requests “to help locate industrial purifying extractors to support the development of a field hospital in North Wales“ no location has been identified.

The seven Conservative MPs across North Wales are calling for urgent action to ensure the region is not left behind in ensuring adequate capacity to treat Coronavirus patients.

Dr James Davies MP (Vale of Clwyd) said: 

“It is imperative that North Wales is not overlooked in the provision of the Covid-19 treatment facilities we are likely to need.

North Wales needs its own field hospitals.

We are determined to ensure that Betsi Cadwaladr gets the support it needs to deliver this.

It is essential that the NHS, military and other disciplines work together so that lives are not unnecessarily lost.

The NHS is devolved in Wales, so we need to be clear what access Welsh patients will have to local facilities or whether they will need to use provision in Manchester and Birmingham.”

Robin Millar MP (Aberconwy) added:

“Our discussions with the Chairman of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board demonstrate both he and the Chief Executive grasp the urgency and importance of this matter.

We are grateful that they are driving this forward and they have called a multi- agency meeting for Monday to confirm sites, timescale, process and clear resource requirements. 

We want to be absolutely sure that North Wales is as prepared as all other regions of the UK.”

Deeside.com approached Flintshire County Council for a comment, the council referred us back to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

[Feature Image: Nightingale Hospital London for Covid-19. The Military and contractors build the Nightingale Hospital at the Excel in London for Covid-19 patients. Picture by Andrew Parsons]

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