The Prince of Wales today sent a prerecorded video message to mark the opening of Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, the Dragon’s Heart Hospital in Cardiff. The temporary facility is based in the city’s Principality Stadium, which usually hosts rugby, and will provide capacity for up to 2,000 additional beds to support the NHS in Wales during the coronavirus pandemic. It is the largest field hospital in Wales and the second largest in the UK.
Addressing the small number of assembled representatives who have contributed to the completion of the hospital, His Royal Highness said:
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. Llongyfarchiadau ichi i gyd.
The ceremony was hosted by rugby player and doctor, Jamie Roberts and attended by Mark Drakeford, First Minister for Wales. Following His Royal Highness’s video message, a plaque was unveiled by Ruth Walker MBE, Executive Nurse Director and Victoria Legrys, Programme Director to mark the hospital officially open. The event also included music from Alis Huws, Official Harpist to The Prince of Wales.
His Royal Highness’s message also played tribute to those in the health service who have tragically died while treating those infected with the virus:
...we have become ever more painfully aware of those in our National Health and public services who have made the ultimate sacrifice in caring for others, giving their lives in the service of their fellow men and women, without thought of reward, and without regard for self.
Words simply cannot express the gratitude and humility that such compassionate courage inspires in us all, and our hearts go out to all who have lost their loved ones in such a tragic way. Today, we honour their memory, and can resolve, in words long used to commemorate those who fell in other conflicts: ‘ay haberth nid â heibio’ - their sacrifice shall not be forgotten.
The temporary hospital has already opened its first 330 beds but has not yet welcomed its first patient. It will care for patients who are coming to the end of their treatment for Covid-19 and require rehabilitation and support, or end-of-life palliative care. Facilities include mobile x-ray, CT scanners and care for people in the last weeks or days of their lives. The adjacent Cardiff Blues stadium will offer a rest area for staff and a reception area for relatives.
Mark Williams, manager of the Principality Stadium, said: “To witness the transformation of the stadium into a field hospital in just a matter of weeks is staggering. It reaffirms what is possible when people come together.”