Ysbyty Calon Y Graig, The Dragon’s Heart Hospital which has occupied Principality Stadium since March will now undergo a phased decommissioning plan as Cardiff and Vale Health Board formally hand back the stadium to the Welsh Rugby Union.

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The hospital which was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles via video link up on April 20th was the second-largest field hospital in the UK and was constructed as part of the NHS Wales’ response to Covid-19.  The temporary surge hospital which took approximately two weeks to complete is a marker of successful collaboration between Cardiff Council, Welsh Rugby Union, Cardiff Blues, Mott MacDonald, The Armed Forces, Archus, Q5, BDP and ES Global which extended the Health Board’s capacity to accommodate up to 2,000 patients.

As many as 600 workers were on site during peak construction, with over 30 different companies involved in the design and build of the hospital and the equivalent of 250,000+ manhours worked to bring the hospital to completion.  The entire stadium was made available to the NHS and facilities included an onsite pharmacy, mobile x-ray, CT scanners, and rehabilitation and support as part of the recovery process from the illness.

With 46 patients being admitted to the hospital during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Patients were cared for by dedicated teams of Cardiff and Vale UHB staff, along with our colleagues at Wales Ambulance Service NHS Trust and St John’s Ambulance Cymru helping ensure patients were safely transferred. It is testament to the dedication of the general public in following the guidance to ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives’ that prevented Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, Dragon’s Heart Hospital needing to be utilised at the level to which had originally been predicted.

Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, Dragon’s Heart Hospital will leave a lasting legacy with the hospital becoming a symbol of resilience and standing steadfast in the face of adversity as our community, NHS Wales, the sporting world and the commercial sector all coming together to tackle an unprecedented global pandemic. This feat of community spirit, the public and private sector collaboration and the ingenuity behind the design, build and operation of the hospital will go down in history.

Martin Driscoll, Deputy Chief Executive at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “On behalf of CAVUHB and all of the staff and patients we provide services for, thank you for this incredible feat and for enabling us to reassure our communities we were prepared for whatever the pandemic threw at us, the DHH and its iconic place- the stadium has shown us team sport at its very best and this is true of how everyone responded – Diolch yn Fawr, thank you.”

The de-commissioning of the Dragon’s Heart Hospital comes ahead of the highly-anticipated return to International Rugby with the Autumn Nations Cup 2020 at Wales’ temporary new home, Parc y Scarlets.  With Principality Stadium ruled out as a potential venue due to the de-commissioning and subsequent reinstallation programme; the final phase of which will take place in January ahead of the Guinness Six Nations on 7th February.

Steve Phillips, CEO at WRU, said: ‘Being able to offer Principality Stadium to the National Health Service and Welsh Government to assist in the fight against Covid 19 has been a privilege. The Dragon’s Heart Hospital demonstrates the extent of successful collaboration and what can be achieved when people in Wales come together; and I’m extremely proud of the WRU staff who played a key part in the successful development and delivery of the temporary surge hospital within our stadium.

‘We agreed with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board that the stadium was to be handed back to us mid-November and we can now begin work on reinstating the stadium, as we look forward to the Guinness Six Nations in 2021.’