Wales’ Principality Stadium could be turned into a field hospital to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board CEO, Len Richards, said they were making preparations based upon the modelling and predictions of numbers of patients and admissions.
“The assumptions have been well documented following publication by Imperial College, London last week and as a Health Board we felt it incumbent to ensure that we plan and prepare for all scenarios,” he said.
“It is difficult looking at the numbers to appreciate the size and the scale of the task ahead of us in the NHS. However, we have been using the past few weeks’ wisely in order to put structures and processes in place across our main hospital sites, University Hospital Wales and University Hospital Llandough.
“In addition to this, we have secured the Principality Stadium, Cardiff as a temporary field hospital with the capacity to hold up to an additional 2,000 beds.
“I understand the concern that this will cause, not only in the community but among my staff too. However, we are planning on the basis of what we think we might need to ensure we are as ready as we can be. I sincerely hope we don’t need to use all of the capacity but it is far better to have developed plans based upon the scientific evidence and modelling of the experts.”
Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething said that health boards were working with the Welsh Government to take all possible steps to prepare Wales for the coronavirus and that involved “preparing for the worst-case scenario modelling”.
“I have made £8m in capital funding available to Cardiff and Vale to help with that planning for hospital and community beds.
“Cardiff and Vale, along with health boards across Wales, are working hard to get ready to look after and treat people who become sick and are looking at venues like the Principality Stadium to provide space for hospital and community beds in the coming weeks.”
Martyn Phillips, CEO of the Welsh Rugby Union, – which owns and operates Principality Stadium added “We have made the entire Principality Stadium available to be used based on NHS requirements, including hospitality areas and a variety of further rooms and facilities.
“It is a privilege to be able to offer our services, facilities and a significant number of operational staff, at their individual choice, to help at this time of national emergency and we have made advanced plans to transform relevant spaces into fully functional hospital environments, working closely with Levy UK, who are responsible for overseeing similar transitions elsewhere.”