Up to 7,000 extra hospital beds are being created by NHS Wales in preparation for an increase in Coronavirus cases, the Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething has revealed.
1,035 new ventilators are also now on order in Wales. Currently, the country has 415 ventilators, 207 non-invasive ventilators and 349 anaesthetic machines with ventilator capacity.
Every health board in Wales is increasing its number of hospital beds, including through building field hospitals such as seen elsewhere in the UK and around the world. Partnerships with the independent sector have also been revealed, and the NHS is working with military planners to make the extra capacity available for use as soon as possible. In particular;
- The Principality Stadium in Cardiff will have space for 2,000 beds
- Swansea Bay UHB is to create over 1,400 beds by using the Llandarcy Academy of Sport, Bay Studios in Swansea and the Sancta Maria Hospital
- An extra 350 beds will be provided through the early opening of The Grange University Hospital in the Aneurin Bevan UHB area
- Betsi Cadwaladr UHB will create an extra 870 beds including at Venue Cymru, Bangor University and Deeside Leisure Centre, as well as in Llandudno
- Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB is to create 900 extra beds at the Vale WRU centre, while other hospitals, care homes and community beds will also be used
- Hywel Dda UHB has planned an additional 660 beds using Parc y Scarlets and Bluestone National Park Resort and the Selwyn Samuel Centre, as well as other facilities in Llanelli and Carmarthen.
- Powys Teaching Health Board is also taking forward options to create extra capacity in local communities
Plans for increasing capacity have been helped by recently retired NHS staff returning to work. 1,300 healthcare professionals have already responded to a call for retired staff to return, while 1,200 registered GP locums are due to shortly enter the workforce for NHS Wales, according to the Welsh Government.
Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said;
“I have been overwhelmed by the response of health and care professionals to the calls we have made for their support. This is a humbling reminder of the commitment of our health and care staff.
“Over the last few days we have seen an increase in the pace and urgency of the response across Wales to prepare vital health and care services to meet the imminent challenges posed by coronavirus.”
On Saturday, Dr Chris Williams, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales announced that the number of new cases of the Coronavirus in Wales has climbed by 387 to a total of 2,853 confirmed cases. 13 further reported deaths of people who had tested positive for COVID-19 has taken the number of confirmed deaths in Wales to 154.
Across the UK, 4,313 of those who were hospitalised and tested positive for COVID-19 have sadly died, as of 5pm on April 3, according to the UK Government’s Department of Health and Social Care.