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Council set to approve funding for magnificent hospital

SWANSEA Council's Cabinet is set to approve spending up to £15m on emergency building works for the 1,000-bed field hospital at Bay Studios on Fabian Way.

Bay hospital work in progress

An urgent report due to be considered by Cabinet on Monday says that the cost of the eight-week project will ultimately be paid for by Swansea Bay University Health Board.

Construction work on Bay Field Hospital has been going on for just over three weeks and has seen the site transformed from a 1950s manufacturing site to a 21st century field hospital capable of dealing with a surge in demand for beds for patients due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The report to Cabinet said the council took action jointly with the health board - with an additional Field Hospital also being carried out by Neath Port Talbot Council at Llandarcy - after the board identified the need to find an additional 1,300 hospital beds to support the response to Coronavirus.

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: "These are completely unprecedented times and they require an unprecedented response. We were requested to build a hospital for the NHS and we have done that. It will save lives, it is as simple as that.

"We agreed very quickly to work with the health board and Neath Port Talbot Council to identify the right sites for hospitals capable of dealing with the surge in demand for beds as the peak of the coronavirus hits this part of Wales.

"The fastest way to get the job done was for the council to lead the building of the hospital to the specifications required by the health board. It's because we have the strategic delivery and construction skills to oversee projects that can be delivered at the kind of pace needed.

"We are doing that and together with our contractors Kier and TRJ we're delivering for the NHS, for their staff and for the people of Swansea Bay. It's been a magnificent wartime-style effort by all, and I want to place my thanks on record to everyone involved in this incredible achievement."

Cabinet Members are due to attend a 'remote' meeting on Monday to consider the report. It will be the first Swansea Cabinet meeting ever held this way and it's taking place under emergency regulations agreed by Welsh Government on April 22.

Although the meeting will not be broadcast live, a recording will be available to the public at a later date. Future council meetings which are required to take place during the Coronavirus are expected to be in public online when appropriate technology is operational.

The report says the sites for 1,000 beds at Swansea Bay Studios and a further 340 at Llandarcy Academy two miles away were approved by a Military Assessment team which reviewed sites for all surge hospitals in the UK.

At Bay Studios Swansea Council is supervising the construction of a new waterproof building within existing structures to create up to 1,000 beds with heating, lighting, new floors, cooling systems and structural false ceilings.

The report says the cost of the build has not been finalised but it's expected to be between £10m and £15m which will be recovered from Swansea Bay University Health Board or the Welsh Government.

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