Cardiff and Vale University Health Board formally leaves Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, Dragon’s Heart Hospital

Written by on 11th November 2020

After 205 days, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) has formally left Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, Dragon’s Heart Hospital. The hospital will now complete its decommissioning plan to allow for the reinstatement of the Principality Stadium.

Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, Dragon’s Heart Hospital, the second-largest field hospital in the UK, was constructed as part of NHS Wales’ response to Covid-19. The hospital is an example of how Cardiff and Vale UHB worked collaboratively with a wide range of partners including Cardiff Council, Welsh Rugby Union, Cardiff Blues, The Armed Forces, Mott MacDonald, Archus, Q5, BDP and ES Global. To design, build and deliver a hospital in just two weeks, to protect and treat the communities of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. The temporary hospital extended the Health Board’s capacity to accommodate up to 2,000 patients.

The hospital opened on 20th April and received its first patient on 28th April, with 46 patients being admitted to the hospital during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Patients were cared for by dedicated teams of Cardiff and Vale UHB staff, along with our colleagues at Wales Ambulance Service NHS Trust and St John’s Ambulance Cymru helping ensure patients were safely transferred. It is testament to the dedication of the general public in following the guidance to ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives’ that prevented Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, Dragon’s Heart Hospital needing to be utilised at the level to which had originally been predicted.

Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, Dragon’s Heart Hospital will leave a lasting legacy with the hospital becoming a symbol of resilience and standing steadfast in the face of adversity as our community, NHS Wales, the sporting world and the commercial sector all coming together to tackle an unprecedented global pandemic. Across Cardiff and the Vale local businesses showed their support with thousands of donations. This feat of community spirit, the public and private sector collaboration and the ingenuity behind the design, build and operation of the hospital will go down in history.

Cardiff and Vale UHB extend a heartfelt thanks to all those involved, including WRU and Cardiff Blues who remained instrumental in ensuring the communities of Cardiff and the Vale were kept safe in a time of need.

The key learnings from the hospital have been utilised for the new Lakeside Wing at University Hospital of Wales, with the first phase of the build scheduled to be complete on 25th November 2020. The temporary facility will accommodate up to 400 beds – with an additional 200 beds to be made available across Cardiff and Vale UHB’s other sites, meeting Covid-19 requirements set out by the Welsh Government.

Martin Driscoll, Deputy Chief Executive at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “On behalf of CAVUHB and all of the staff and patients we provide services for, thank you for this incredible feat and for enabling us to reassure our communities we were prepared for whatever the pandemic threw at us, the DHH and its iconic place- the stadium has shown us team sport at its very best and this is true of how everyone responded – Diolch yn Fawr, thank you.”

Steve Phillips, CEO at WRU, said: ‘Being able to offer Principality Stadium to the National Health Service and Welsh Government to assist in the fight against Covid-19 has been a privilege. The Dragon’s Heart Hospital demonstrates the extent of successful collaboration and what can be achieved when people in Wales come together; and I’m extremely proud of the WRU staff who played a key part in the successful development and delivery of the temporary surge hospital within our stadium.

‘We agreed with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board that the stadium was to be handed back to us mid-November and we can now begin work on reinstating the stadium, as we look forward to the Six Nations in 2021.’

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