Posted: Tue 5th May 2020

North Wales coronavirus hospitals to remain in place for ‘a number of months’ ahead of possible future spikes in demand

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Temporary hospitals in North Wales could be used to help support the return of more demand to the NHS, according to the Welsh Government.

Last month work began across the region to create extra capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic – with three venues for field hospitals chosen in Llandudno, Bangor and Deeside.

The three sites were handed over to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to provide a combined 1,000 additional beds.

The rainbow hospitals are also designed to help patients who have received treatment at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Glan Clwyd Hospital and Wrexham Maelor Hospital to recover in order to return home.

Earlier this week it was announced that the Nightingale Hospital in London would be mothballed for any future spike in coronavirus cases after experiencing less demand than anticipated.

At today’s Welsh Government press conference, we asked Health Secretary Vaughan Gething about the situation regarding admissions to the three North Wales field hospitals and whether they would they be kept in reserve for a long term period.

Mr Gething said two options were actively being considered, including using the sites to support the return of more NHS activity.

He said: “We’ve said for a number of weeks that we want people who have urgent care needs to carry on coming in to our health and care system and it’s a real concern to me that people with urgent care needs haven’t been coming in, in the sort of numbers that we would expect.

“That bothers me because there’s avoidable harm taking place because people are not coming and presenting themselves to the National Health Service.

“I’ve asked the health service to think about this and to come back with some advice and a plan for a framework for restarting wider areas of NHS activity to, and how to make use of the physical capacity we’ve got in field hospitals.”

However Mr Gething warned that the hospitals would not be used to full capacity due to the risk of a second wave of coronavirus and the number of staff that would be required at the sites.

He added: “I absolutely will not agree to making full use of field hospitals, because we need to staff those.

“I’m very grateful people are returned to the National Health Service, to the over 2000 undergraduate students who are working in this unprecedented time.

“But we cannot fill up our field hospital capacity, because if we do have a further spike in coronavirus, which is possible, then we will need that capacity to make sure that our healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed.

“So yes, we’re looking at how to make use of the capacity we have.”

You can watch today’s briefing, along with the Q&A session below:

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