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Bay Studios field hospital with 1,000 beds to open this week

Credit: Swansea Council

Work to transform a Swansea Bay film studios and former factory into a hospital will go 24/7 from the Easter holiday period.

Swansea Council is working with contractors Kier and TRJ to convert the Bay Studios Elba building into a field hospital on behalf of the Swansea Bay University Health Board.

It will have more than 1,000 extra beds for the NHS and will help manage the expected upsurge in Coronavirus cases.

Inside the Bay Studios being converted into a temporary field hospital

Since the daily work started more than a week ago it has been carried out 7am-7pm; that is now changing to a 24-hour operation.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “The task facing the council and its contractors is huge as the building has been empty for several years. However, with work scheduled 24/7 from April 10 including the Easter holiday period, we’re getting the job done.

“The transformation continues and changes are clear to see every day.

“There is fantastic work being carried out on site; everyone is working together well, supporting our NHS at this incredibly challenging time, helping to manage the expected upsurge in Coronavirus cases.”

The outer shell of the building will remain, but contractors are constructing a new box within the building to create a modern and suitable hospital setting.

As well as the areas for beds, there will be rest areas for the nursing staff, toilets, changing areas and catering areas to serve staff and patients.

The work – being overseen by the council – includes installing new flooring, ceilings, electricity, heating, water supplies and ventilation.

Additional work will be undertaken to install the medical equipment and beds.

The aim is to have hundreds of beds in place within around three weeks to meet the anticipated demand at that time and then hundreds more will be in place within the following weeks.

The beds at Bay Studios, if needed, will be for patients who are less ill, but not able enough to go home.

The council is grateful to the site’s owners Welsh Government and Roy Thomas for being helpful in arranging to lease the building to the council – and to Neath Port Talbot Council as the site is just over the border from Swansea.

Meanwhile, work has started on transforming another key site in the Swansea Bay area into field hospitals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Up to temporary 1,340 beds could be available if needed in the weeks ahead. They will be situated at the Llandarcy Academy of Sport as well as at Bay Studios in Fabian Way, and will be in addition to extra beds created in Morriston, Singleton and Neath Port Talbot hospitals, as outpatients and other clinical and public areas are redesigned.

Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Councillor Rob Jones said: “Our Design and Architecture Team is working closely with local firm Andrew Scott Ltd. to complete the field hospital at Llandarcy Academy in time for it to be handed over to the Health Board later this month. I would like to thank all those on site who are working tirelessly to complete this facility.

“Projects such as this are being made possible through partnership working between Neath Port Talbot and Swansea Councils, Swansea Bay University Health Board and NPTC Group of Colleges. We are all proud to be doing our bit in delivering extra beds to the NHS to support them in their efforts to save lives.”

Jason Taylor, operations director for Kier Regional Building Western & Wales, said: “Over the last week, we have made good progress at Bay Studios as we convert it in to a temporary hospital to support the needs of the NHS in the Swansea Bay area.

“It is a truly collaborative effort from all involved, we are utilising our skills and working together in a safe and productive way. Alongside TRJ, we will continue to work over Easter so we can deliver this vital new hospital setting.”

The public, health and private sector, along with further education, are working closely together in an unprecedented response aimed at safeguarding the health and wellbeing of people living in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

It is designed to ensure the NHS can cope with whatever demands it needs to meet in the weeks ahead.