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Hospital faces whopping £107m maintenance backlog

26 May 2021 3 minute read
Photo by Martin Brosy on Unsplash

Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter

A hospital in in Cardiff, is facing a whopping £107 million maintenance backlog including electrical and fire safety issues.

The long list of tasks needed to maintain the aging University Hospital of Wales, is one of the justifications for building a new replacement hospital.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is asking the Welsh Government to foot the bill to replace the 1,000-bed UHW, which was built between 1962 and 1971.

The health board insisted the hospital is still safe for patients and staff, despite the maintenance issues.

A recent freedom of information request has revealed the total cost to tackle the maintenance backlog is £107,374,993.

This comprises: £32,434,061 on building discipline, £36,229,838 on mechanical issues, £18,281,740 on electrical issues, £7,582,816 on ‘miscellaneous’ issues, £678,503 on fire safety, and £12,168,035 on statutory safety.


The staggering total bill is more than half the expected cost of building a brand new Velindre cancer hospital in Whitchurch.

It is unclear how much a replacement UHW would cost, but building work could begin as soon as 2025. It would take three years to build and could open in 2028. Health bosses have so far not said whether the new hospital would be built on the current site or elsewhere.

As well as the huge maintenance costs, UHW is running out of space for the latest advancements in healthcare technology. A replacement hospital could also be designed to better respond to future pandemics. Llandough Hospital would see its buildings refurbished.

A spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “As it was built many years ago, it is natural that a building as complex as UHW needs continual maintenance.

“When our patients and staff come to the hospital, our top priority is to provide a safe environment for them. Therefore, we prioritise our maintenance programme and have dedicated teams who work around the clock to ensure their safety and that the vital services we provide at UHW can go ahead.

“Patients can rest assured that despite the ongoing maintenance programme, UHW is safe to attend and receive treatment. As it was built over 50 years ago, the health board is beginning to plan how we redevelop the hospital to ensure that our estate is fit for the healthcare needs of future generations.

“We believe that this approach will allow us to deliver our vital services in the most sustainable way for decades to come.”

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