Work to transform a former Swansea Bay motor factory into a high-tech hospital ready for hundreds of beds has been completed in just over a month.
The first two phases of the project were handed over by Swansea Council to the Swansea Bay University Health Board (SBUHB) to help the NHS in its fight against coronavirus.
Those at a handover ceremony on site today were due to include Tonia Antoniazzi, MP for Gower; Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East; Julie James, MS (Member of the Senedd) for Swansea West and Minister for Housing and Local Government, and David Rees, MS for Aberavon. Rebecca Evans, MS for Gower, was due to be given a virtual tour by phone.
Guests were joined by representatives of the council, health board and contractors.
Vaughan Gething, Wales’ Minister for Health and Social Services, addressed the gathering with a pre-recorded message.
SBUHB chair Emma Woollett accepted the facility from council leader Rob Stewart.
The Bay Field Hospital, just off Fabian Way close to the M4’s junctions 42 and 43, will provide new capacity for the NHS to support that already at Morriston, Singleton, Neath Port Talbot hospitals as well as in the nearby Llandarcy Field Hospital.
Outpatient and other clinical sites have been redesigned to meet the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak.
The rapid transformation of the Bay Studios expansive 1950s industrial space, which saw much 24/7 working, was a joint effort between Swansea Council’s experienced building services team, SBUHB and contractors Kier and TRJ.
It will initially have 420 beds for those requiring a short stay, and a discharge lounge with 80 seats for people ready to go home, which can expand to respond to growing need. Work continues to that it will also have the capacity to provide a further 540 beds if required.
Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said:
“Only four weeks ago Bay Studios looked like what it was, a linked series of huge drafty factory units dating back around 70 years.
“We were asked to build a hospital and, since then, we’ve created a building within that building – a high-tech setting fit for the best in modern healthcare.
“We’re all proud to have done our bit to deliver an exceptional new space for the NHS to support them in their efforts to save lives. This is partnership working at its very best.
“I thank all involved, including staff from the council, contractors, health board and Roy Thomas who owns the site and worked with us swiftly to agree a lease. I also thank Neath Port Talbot Council as this facility is just over our border on their patch.”
The Bay Field Hospital has been fitted out with an insulated wooden-vinyl covered flooring system, partitioned wards and new heating, ventilation, plumbing, electrical and IT systems. The building includes welfare and catering facilities and staff quarters.
SBUHB chief executive Tracy Myhill said:
“The transformation of a huge ex-factory unit, which was once home to both metalworking and motor industries, has been spectacular to see in just a few short weeks.
“The building is unrecognisable from its early roots, and now, as the Bay Field Hospital, is ready to join our other field hospital at Llandarcy to play its part in caring for patients during this pandemic.
“I would like to thank Swansea Council and contractors Kier and TRJ for their amazing efforts, which have involved working around the clock to get this work done.”
Bay Field Hospital will care for patients who need a less intensive level of support than Llandarcy.
They will not need to be in one of the main hospitals either, but will need additional support, including preparation for their discharge.
Swansea Council managed and oversaw construction work, enabling SBUHB staff to concentrate on planning the expansion of its services, staffing, and dealing with other pressing COVID-19 health issues.
The council worked with the health board and contractors to ensure everything was in place on time.
Mr Gething said:
“Coronavirus continues to impact on all our lives and I am impressed by the huge amount of work that is going on in Swansea Bay and right across Wales to meet the biggest natural challenge of our lifetime.
“Within a matter of weeks field hospitals like this one at Bay Studios in Fabian Way have been created to increase bed capacity for the people of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
“Swansea Bay, like health boards across Wales, will be using field hospitals flexibly and will start using additional capacity where it is needed, to support a gradual re-introduction of non-COVID-19 activity.
“Field hospitals will be used flexibly, where necessary, over the coming months and the situation kept under review. I’d like to thank the contractors and all those who have worked around the clock to create this additional capacity to help us cope with this terrible virus. The scale of this work is remarkable.”
Jason Taylor, operations director for Kier Regional Building Western & Wales, said:
“We are extremely proud to have been a part of the team that has delivered the first phase of this vital local facility.
“It has been a truly collaborative effort, working with Swansea Council, our supply chain, partner TRJ and others for SBUHB. This new hospital setting is now ready to help support the NHS in its fight against Covid-19.
“In just over a month, our teams have worked together swiftly, safely with skill and commitment to construct this new field hospital – it has been collaboration at its best, at time when it has been needed the most.”
TRJ director Owain Jones said:
“It has been a privilege for the TRJ team to be involved with the transformation of Bay Studios into a field hospital.
“All concerned have embraced the challenge and the can-do attitude on site has resulted in so much being achieved in such a short space of time.
“I must thank Swansea Council, SBUHB, Kier and our supply chain for their collaboration and our own workforce for their dedication in delivering this facility safely and to the highest of standards.
“The wider community of Swansea have also played their part and their kind donations of food and beverage have sustained those on site whilst working long hours. Llawer o ddiolch i chi gyd.”
Martin Nicholls, Swansea Council’s director of place, said:
“It’s the biggest project management job we’ve ever delivered as a council.
“Our construction management team on this project normally delivers construction projects such as a new school or new houses.
“The scale of this is way above that and we’ve shown that we have the expertise and the ability to deliver such projects.
“I thank the council team who’ve been directly involved – including Nigel Williams, the head of service. They’ve been outstanding both in terms of their effort and time spent on the project and in terms of the expertise they’ve brought to it.”
The Bay Field Hospital project is part of a wider joint effort between Swansea and Neath Port Talbot and Councils, SBUHB and other partners across the Swansea Bay region to provide more than 1,000 additional hospital beds to support the NHS response to the coronavirus emergency.
Bay Studios is normally used by the creative sector.