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Health chiefs face £16.5m bill for new electrical substation at Morriston Hospital

30 Jul 2022 2 minute read
Morriston Hospital Swansea, image by Sarah Morgan Jones

Health chiefs need to find £16.5 million for a new electrical sub-station at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital because two existing ones are “at direct risk of failure”, a finance chief said.

Darren Griffiths said the new one would also ensure ventilation in the hospital’s sterilisation and decontamination unit (HSDU) was compliant with the relevant guidelines – at present ventilation is below 50% of the required levels.

Mr Griffiths, Swansea Bay University Health Board’s director of finance and performance, told colleagues at a meeting that the £16.5 million cost factored in inflation but that getting work under way would be better sooner rather than later.

“We need to keep the lights on and the machinery working,” he said, introducing the report.

The report before the board said the two substations – substation 3 and 4 – installed in the 1980s, were no longer compliant with current British standards, and were at risk of overloading their electrical supply.

“If substation 3 or 4 were to fail it would disrupt Morriston’s theatres and theatres recovery areas and radiology services,” it said.

If the project is approved by the Welsh Government, the HSDU would operate from Singleton Hospital as an interim measure. Mr Griffiths was asked if installing the new one would disrupt services at Morriston. He said he was assured this wasn’t the case.

Welsh Government

Board members approved a business case for the £16.5 million project, which will now be submitted to the Welsh Government. Subject to approval, work could start in October with the new sub-station up and running by December, 2023.

Mr Griffiths said the new sub-station would link in with the health board’s new solar farm just over two miles away and allow six electric vehicle charging points to be trialled.

He said the health board was looking to expand the solar farm, at Brynwhillach Farm, and add battery storage to store the electricity it generated.

At present the health board receives around 2p per kilowatt hour for the electricity it can’t store and which gets fed into the grid, but it pays 32p per kilowatt hour when it purchases electricity.

Mr Griffiths reminded board members of the main rationale behind the new substation. “A key driver is substations 3 and 4 are out of compliance and at direct risk of failure,” he said.

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