Prince Charles marks official opening of Cardiff coronavirus hospital

20 April 2020, 15:30

By Matt Drake

Prince Charles has officially opened a temporary hospital built in Cardiff to help ease the pressure on the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Prince of Wales called the temporary field hospital at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff a "huge source of pride" at its official opening.

In a pre-recorded video message shown inside the newly-named Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, the Dragon's Heart Hospital, Charles said: "That this amazing undertaking should have been completed in such a short time is, rightly, a huge source of pride.

"I simply want to add my voice to the tributes that have been paid to all those involved, from so many different walks of life, who have made this possible - the Welsh Government, the National Health Service trust, the planners, builders and technicians, the armed forces, and, of course, the medical staff and volunteers who will be taking forward this hospital's vital work.

"In a facility named, so evocatively and so appropriately, Calon Y Ddraig, what can I say except 'diolch o galon', and express the warmest possible thanks for what you have done, and all that you will do in this hospital, and all those other field hospitals, across Wales, where buildings have been transformed as part of the immense effort to combat the dreadful threat we face."

Follow all the latest coronavirus developments on our live blog HERE

Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, the Dragon's Heart Hospital, is the largest temporary hospital in Wales and the second largest in the UK, providing up to 2,000 additional beds for Covid-19 patients.

It will double the size of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board's system, with patients being treated in large tent-like structures and the hospitality boxes.

Around 750 beds are on the pitch, with 250 on platforms around it, and there is on-site radiography, laboratories and a pharmacy.

Len Richards, chief executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said the stadium "embodies the heart and soul of the nation".

"We are planning on the basis of what we think we might need to ensure we are as ready as we can be," he said.

"I sincerely hope we don't need to use all of the capacity but it is far better to have developed plans based upon the scientific evidence and modelling of the experts.

"This facility will allow us to free up capacity at our other hospital sites so that we can continue to provide services to patients with other health conditions."