£350m Welsh hospital to open a year early in bid to tackle coronavirus

A £350m 'super hospital' being built in Cwmbran will open a year early in a bid to tackle coronavirus.

The Grange University Hospital was due to officially open next year, but Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) revealed part of it will open in April to "provide up to an additional 350 beds".

More than half of coronavirus cases in Wales have been confirmed in the ABUHB area. The number of cases there stands at 185 as of March 22.

Public Health Wales said coronavirus is now circulating in every part of Wales, with a total of 347 cases confirmed.

Seven people have died after contracting the virus.

The First Minister said he would not announce new beds without confidently knowing they could be staffed.

On Saturday the Welsh Government said it is urging former health and social care workers to return to work to help tackle the pandemic.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the 5,000 recently retired clinical staff that have been asked to return will help staff the hospital.

He said staff currently being retrained and final year medical students or third year students would also make up staff numbers at the new hospital.

"We wouldn't say we were going to have new beds unless we wereconfident we were going to be able to staff them," he said.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “We are doing everythingpossible in Wales to increase the capacity of our NHS in theseexceptional circumstances.

"I have approved immediate funding of up to £10m to speed up construction of sections of the Grange, which will provide up to 350 additional beds for use by the end of April."

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