Plans are in hand to formally take Llanelli’s Ysbyty Enfys Selwyn Samuel through its decommissioning phase ahead of being returned to town council ownership later this spring, bringing an effective end to Hywel Dda’s Covid-19 field hospital programme after two years.
Local authority contactors are due to begin a programme of reinstatement works before the health board hands back the Selwyn Samuel Centre – which provides a local indoor bowls facility and events centre – to Llanelli Town Council in late April.
The health board is also due to hold talks with Carmarthenshire County Council over the future of Ysbyty Enfys Caerfyrddin, based at the town’s leisure centre, which has been held in reserve for some time as a field hospital and is now back fully open and operational as a leisure centre.
Nine field hospital sites offering 915 beds across the counties of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire were designed and constructed and handed to the Health Board on 24 April 2020 in readiness to meet the expected Covid-19 case demand.
Ysbyty Enfys Selwyn Samuel has seen the longest operational service (16 November 2020 – 23 June 2021) of all of our field hospital sites, treating 263 patients in that time.
Since being wound down as a field hospital in June 2021, the site has supported broader Health Board activity by acting as a base for the local acute response team, a lymphoedema clinic and as a training and development venue which helped us bring 160 much needed additional health care support workers into the system ahead of winter. Ysbyty Enfys Caerfyrddin was operated as a pilot during the late summer of 2020 and supported the care of 32 inpatients.
However, the impact of a lower than expected and plateauing of the Omicron coronavirus strain infection rate, along with staffing challenges, have resulted in the facilities not seeing further inpatient clinical use during the most recent period of health system pressures.
Hywel Dda’s Chief Executive, Steve Moore, paid tribute to Llanelli Town Council for their support throughout in helping the health board to manage its patients, and for being flexible in the face of great uncertainty.
He added: “This will be a significant legacy statement for the facility and of course Llanelli Town Council. For the Health Board, the centre has proved to be an immense source of support in our aims to tackle the indirect impacts of the several waves of coronavirus we have seen in the past two years.
“On behalf of the Health Board, I would like to thank the Town Council for the support, flexibility and patience provided in the past two years which has been exemplified through a true spirit of collaboration and partnership.”
The Leader of Llanelli Town Council, Cllr John Jenkins, added: “I am very, very proud of the support Llanelli Town Council was able to give our NHS through the provision of the Selwyn Samuel Centre to be repurposed as Ysbyty Enfys Selwyn Samuel.
“I want to thank Paul Francis and Anyone Waiting for their support and cooperation and Llanelli Indoor Bowls Club for their support. This is a fantastic team effort to support the Local Health Board during the pandemic.”