The Lakeside Wing, based on the grounds of the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) site, accepted its first patient at the end of December 2020. The patient was transferred across from the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s main Hospital site to the Lakeside Wing to start their rehabilitation as they enter the recovery stage of their treatment. To date, 56 patients are currently being cared for at the new surge facility, undergoing essential rehabilitation after a period of acute illness, which may not necessarily be Covid-19.
As the Lakeside Wing adopts a multi-disciplinary model of care, staff including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, healthcare support workers and registered nurses are all working in the three-storey facility. One of these staff members, Sian Brookes, was the first on site when the Wing received its first patient.
Sian Brookes, Senior Nurse, said: “My role as a Senior Nurse is to support the delivery of essential rehabilitation and care for our patients, working together alongside dedicated colleagues from different areas across the Health Board. We are caring for patients who have been unwell for some time which may not necessarily have been from Covid-19, so we aren’t treating exclusively Covid-19 patients at the Lakeside Wing.”
The Lakeside Wing allows the Health Board to meet the Winter and Covid-19 capacity requirements as predicted by Welsh Government and local intelligence data and modelling.
The £33m facility has 166 beds available to accept patients. This is in addition to the existing capacity that the Health Board has across its sites. The remaining 234 beds, which make up the 400 beds that the Lakeside Wing can provide, is still on track to be available by 28 January 2021.
Len Richards, Chief Executive, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “To be in a position where the Lakeside Wing has accepted its first patient marks the resolve and perseverance of our staff, Health Board colleagues and contractors working on site, especially as we opened the facility during a particularly challenging time for us. Although it is a great feat that the Lakeside Wing is ready and available to provide rehabilitation for those patients recovering from a long period of acute illness, we still cannot get complacent and we all must do our best to stop the spread of Covid-19. We still need to regularly wash our hands, keep wearing a face covering where appropriate and adhere to social distancing to keep us all safe, so we do not exhaust our additional surge capacity.”
The U-shaped modular building is being built thanks to a £33m investment from Welsh Government, following a joint decision between the Health Board, WRU and Welsh Government to decommission the use of the Principality Stadium as a Field Hospital.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething said: “As coronavirus cases remain very high in Wales, our NHS is under real pressure as it deals with increased demand from the ongoing pandemic and normal winter illnesses. Our investment has helped Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to manage the increase in admissions in what is proving to be an incredibly challenging winter for health and social care services.
“We welcome the opening of the Lakeside Wing at the University Hospital of Wales which will help to ensure that the health board has the bed capacity to cope with increased demand and provide high quality rehabilitation for the people of Cardiff.”
Construction began on 12 September and contractor Darwin Group Ltd installed 280 building modules in just 70 days, to complete the Northern wing of the building which houses the first 166 beds. Located at the area outside of Lakeside at UHW, the short-term surge facility will be completed with the addition of a Southern wing. Darwin Group expects to hand over the keys to UHW for the entire modular building by early February 2021.
Charles Pierce, Managing Director at Darwin Group, said: “It’s an honour to be able to play our part in supporting the Health Board’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and providing the additional 400 bed capacity they need to continue doing a remarkable service. To see that the Lakeside Wing has accepted its first patients in the Northern Wing is a very proud moment for us.
“The COVID-19 crisis has evolved incredibly fast and we are taking extraordinary actions to get the remaining 234 beds available by 28th January 2021. The overwhelming commitment and dedication of our fantastic staff, supply chain partners and client has successfully enabled us to support and provide these much needed facilities.”