The first 166 beds are available to accept patients at the UHW Lakeside Wing, a temporary surge facility based at the University Hospital of Wales site, as of this week.
On Friday 4 December, 166 beds that make up the ‘Northern Wing’ of the UHW Lakeside Wing will be available to accept patients who need rehabilitation and are recovering from a long period of acute illness. The UHW Lakeside Wing will be adopting a multi-disciplinary model of care, ensuring staff such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, healthcare support workers and registered nurses will be collaboratively working to provide patient care under one roof.
Len Richards, Chief Executive, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “To have the first 166 beds available to accept step-down patients from this week demonstrates the hard work and determination that our contractors and colleagues have given to make this achievable.
“We encourage everyone to continue to comply with social distancing, regularly wash their hands and keep wearing a face covering to help stop the spread of Covid-19, in the hope that we do not have to utilise our additional surge capacity. However, as we face a challenging Winter and grapple with the second peak of the pandemic, our patients and the public can be safe in the knowledge that the UHW Lakeside Wing is ready in case we need it.”
The Lakeside Wing is a temporary surge facility that will ensure sufficient capacity across the Health Board’s sites during the second wave of COVID-19 cases. 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: “Establishing sufficient additional bed capacity across Wales is a crucial part of our strategy to manage the pressures on our NHS caused by the pandemic. I am pleased to see the set of 166 beds are available to patients in Cardiff and the Vale UHB area. This additional capacity – and the remaining beds to become available in early February – could be essential in combating potential future peaks in admission over the difficult weeks and months to come.”
This is not the first project milestone for the UHW Lakeside Wing. On Wednesday 25 November, modular construction specialist Darwin Group completed the first phase of construction of the new £33 million Lakeside Wing and successfully handed Phase 1 of the building to the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (CAVUHB).
Construction began on 12 September and since, the Shropshire-based firm has installed 280 building modules in just 70 days, using its modern methods of construction to complete the Northern wing of the building as scheduled.
The project is believed to signify the fastest ever delivery of a large building (under 10,000 sq m) for clinical or education use across the UK to date, and when considering a ratio of size to speed, Darwin Group’s most efficient delivery ever.
Appointed by CAVUHB in September 2020, Darwin Group’s team of skilled in-house designers, engineers, and construction professionals have worked around the clock and through the night to complete this first phase.
The firm’s unique turnkey service has covered all stages of the design, planning and construction, from start to finish, ensuring a fast and seamless delivery.
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. Once complete, the temporary facility will accommodate up to 400 hospital beds. This, coupled with the additional 200 beds across CAVUHB’s sites, allows the Health Board to meet the Winter and Covid-19 capacity requirements as predicted by Welsh Government and local intelligence data and modelling.
As construction continues into the New Year on the second phase of the building, CAVUHB and Darwin Group anticipate no interruptions to services, patient clinics or appointments.
Charles Pierce, Managing Director at Darwin Group, said: “This project has only grown in significance since our initial instruction from the Health Board now that we find ourselves in a second wave of COVID-19 infections. We’re delighted to have delivered the first phase, allowing additional hospital beds to become available for University Hospital of Wales and the patients they serve.
“The urgent nature of this project has allowed us to demonstrate what we do best and I firmly believe this is the fastest a permanent building of this size and use class has ever been delivered in the UK, certainly for something of this significance.
“Our experienced team will continue to provide the highest levels of efficiency as we move onto the second phase of the project. I’d like to thank the fantastic team at the Health Board for their support on the project to date and commend University Hospital of Wales for the outstanding job it is doing during this unprecedented time.”
Geoff Walsh, Director of Capital, Estates and Facilities at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, added: “It’s astounding to see how quickly Phase 1 of the Lakeside Wing has progressed. To say the first 56 beds will be fully operational just 75 days after construction started is testament to the hard work and efforts of everyone working on the project, both from Darwin Group and the Health Board.
“Work is moving at pace to ensure the 400 beds will be ready as the Health Board faces challenges that the Winter and second peak of the Covid-19 pandemic brings.
“We will keep our patients, staff and the public updated on the progress of the Lakeside Wing through our website and social media channels.