Welsh Gov’s ‘Winter Protection Plan’ will give update on unused temporary field hospitals
Health Minister Vaughan Gething will today publish the Welsh Government ‘Winter Protection Plan’ which will outline the preparations being made by NHS and social care services for this winter.
The plan has a focus on responding to Covid-19, including extra bed capacity, changing the way services are delivered, expanding the flu vaccination programme and the role the public can play to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Mr Gething has said the plan will outline what will happen with the network of 17 temporary field hospitals which were created rapidly to increase bed capacity across Wales at the start of the pandemic.
Only one, the 1,500-bed capacity Dragon’s Heart Hospital – built within the Principality Stadium in Cardiff – has received any patients, it is in the process of being decommissioned.
A new facility, providing 400 extra beds, will be built next to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
The temporary 430-bed hospital built within Deeside Leisure Centre at the cost of over £13m has remained unused during the pandemic, it remains on standby.
The Deeside site is one of three so-called Rainbow Hospital’s in the North Wales health board region, the other two are in Bangor and Llandudno.
Speaking during yesterday’s Welsh government coronavirus briefing, the health minister said: “We’ll be giving some more detail on field hospitals within our Winter Plan.
We have got a planning scenario that our Health Board to work with us on.
What we understand is that we will have field hospitals serving each Health Board area but it’s about the numbers that we think we’re going to need.”
During the press conference, Mr Gething urged people to “reconsider the choices they are making” and follow social distancing rules following a spike in cases in South Wales or risk another national lockdown.
He said, “We saw in the first wave that we didn’t need to use the significant field hospital capacity that we built up in large measure because people followed the rules.
The first national lockdown did very effectively suppress the spread of coronavirus.
Despite that, we saw significant numbers of very ill people in our hospitals and of course, we saw a significant loss of life.
That’s what we’re trying to avoid, so we will have a network of field hospitals in place, we will be providing more detail on that, but it comes back to the choices that each of us are prepared to make.
The government has a responsibility but each and every one of us have a shared responsibility too.”
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