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Cabinet's unanimous backing for 1,000 bed field hospital

SWANSEA Council's Cabinet has unanimously given its approval to the building of the new 1000-bed field hospital at Bay Studios on Fabian Way.

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This morning's emergency cabinet meeting saw members take-part remotely to consider the project that will help ease pressure on local hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

The new hospital is the size of several football fields and teams from the council's building services along with contractors Kier and TRJ had been working around the clock to build the new facility, including bank holidays and weekends, and the first phase is on track to be handed over later this week.

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 its response.

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: "I would like to place on record my thanks for the outstanding work that has been done in effectively building a new hospital from scratch in record breaking time.

"I've said that this was a war time effort and that's exactly what it was. Everyone involved has done us proud in what they have created.

"All of us hope that we will not need a single bed of this facility is needed during this crisis because we would all rather that the surge hospitals are not needed, but unfortunately given the tragic death rates we are seeing across the UK it is likely that at some point in the future it will be."

Cllr Stewart said the hospital had been designed and built so that it would be available on a long term basis should it be needed but that would be a decision for the health board and Welsh Government.

Monday's remote meeting was the first time a formal cabinet meeting has been held in this way and took place under emergency regulations agreed by Welsh Government on Wednesday.

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 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.

Although the cost of the build has not been finalised 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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