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Three field hospitals to be decommissioned as health board reviews capacity

Field Hospital interior

Hywel Dda University Health Board would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to our partners, contractors, local communities, staff and volunteers as we confirm our intention to decommission three of our Covid-19 Field Hospitals.

The health board can confirm that Ysbyty Enfys Scarlets, based at Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli; Ysbyty Enfys Carreg Las, based near Narberth, Pembrokeshire, and Ysbyty Enfys Plascrug, Aberystwyth, will all be returned to their former use from 31 March 2021. 

Ysbyty Enfys Selwyn Samuel, in Llanelli, will be retained until 2022 as a surge facility in the event of a possible third wave of Coronavirus, while Cardigan Leisure Centre will be retained as a Test Trace and Protect and Mass Vaccination facility.

However, the health board would like to urge caution and remind members of the public that the pandemic remains active, and people should not assume that our planning decisions signal an immediate return to normality.  In particular, we are strongly urging local residents and communities to continue following national guidance on social distancing, hand hygiene and use of face masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are extremely grateful to all of our partners, including local authorities, Llanelli Town Council and private businesses such as Parc Y Scarlets and Bluestone, for coming together early in the pandemic and making it possible for us to have these facilities at our disposal.

“From the outset it was clear that we could not predict the way the virus would spread and affect our local population, and we have known that being flexible in our use of these facilities would be key to the way we cared for patients. 

“We are proud to have been able to bring some of our field hospitals into use to help manage the demand during the second wave in particular, and are currently looking at what level of support we may need going forwards.

“As such we can confirm that we will be returning some of our field hospitals to their former use, while taking a pragmatic and cautious approach by retaining some beds in the Carmarthenshire locality in the event of a possible third wave of the virus.  I would like in particular to extend our thanks to Llanelli Town Council for their ongoing support in our use of the Selwyn Samuel building which will allow us to retain this bed base in the immediate future.

“This pandemic has taken a tragic toll on human life, and despite the success of the vaccine rollout both locally and nationally, it is far from over.  It’s essential that our local communities continue to follow national guidance on all aspects of lockdown restrictions, distancing, hygiene and use of masks, and that people do not view the operational decisions that we take as a health board in isolation – we all still need to continue with the collective effort in the fight against Covid-19.”

The Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Cllr David Simpson, added: “Pembrokeshire County Council is pleased to have worked collaboratively with Hywel Dda on the development of the Covid-19 Field Hospital at Ysbyty Enfys Carreg Las. The scheme was developed with breath-taking speed – from inception to practical completion in less than a month. We are pleased to have been a partner to the Health Board in providing this important facility for local residents during this difficult period.”

Eifion Evans, Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council, added: “Ceredigion County Council were honoured to have been able to support Hywel Dda Local Health Board during the past twelve months by ensuring that facilities were available to be transformed into field hospitals, in order to respond to this pandemic. Cardigan Leisure Centre will remain as a vaccination centre for as long as required in order to support the work of the Health Board during these challenging times.”