THE field hospital which became a symbol of the early response to the Covid pandemic in Swansea Bay is finally to be decommissioned.
Bay Studios Field Hospital, off Fabian Way, was created at speed along with the smaller Llandarcy Field Hospital a couple of miles to the east.
Rows of beds were created, along with office space, digital connections, and new lighting and heating in a breakneck £18 million project.
Fortunately, the acute beds at both sites were not needed to care for Covid patients and the Llandarcy facility was decommissioned after the first wave of the pandemic.
Bay Studios Field Hospital was retained and has been used as a mass vaccination centre, phlebotomy facility and outpatient clinic space, among other things.
It is part of the privately-run Bay Studios complex, and the field hospital lease comes to an end on July 31.
Swansea Bay University Health Board heard at a meeting that the fabric of the field hospital was deteriorating and that there was no rationale for retaining it.
Darren Griffiths, the health board’s director of finance and performance, said running “the fabric of the building” cost £350,000 per month.
He paid tribute to “the incredible contribution” of those who had set it up and worked there.
“We are in discussions with the landlord to understand what the nature of the exit will be,” he said.
Independent board member Reena Owen asked about alternative phlebotomy arrangements, given, she said, that many people liked being able to park there and have their blood tests.
Mr Griffiths said there were plans being drawn up for alternative phlebotomy services in Gorseinon, Swansea and Neath. “Some plans are closer to fruition than others,” he said.
Health board chairwoman Emma Woollett said getting phlebotomy arrangements right was important.
Speaking in April 2021, the owner of the film studios, Swansea businessman Roy Thomas, said the first 16 months of the field hospital use would be a rent-free arrangement.
Mr Thomas said he and the health board had agreed “a very reasonable commercial deal” when the 16 months elapsed.
The field hospital was in the Bay Studios’ vast Elba building, which in previous times was where rear axles for Ford cars and vans had been manufactured – and before that a steel and tinplate works.
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