HYWEL Dda University Health Board (UHB) has extended its deepest thanks and appreciation to partners, contractors, local communities, staff and volunteers as we prepare to wind down our remaining COVID-19 field hospital at Ysbyty Enfys Selwyn Samuel, Llanelli.
The health board has confirmed that the facility, which was highly instrumental in caring for non-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 patients at the height of the pandemic, will be placed into ‘hibernation’ from this Friday, 25 June.
Ysbyty Enfys Selwyn Samuel will be retained until March 2022 as a surge facility in the event of further waves of coronavirus. The facility provided care for 263 patients between November 2020 and June 2021. Its last patient was discharged on Tuesday (22 June).
Despite the winding down of field hospitals, Hywel Dda UHB is urging caution and reminding the public that the pandemic remains active, with the beginning of a third wave of the disease, and people should not assume that planning decisions signal an immediate return to normality. In particular, the health board strongly urges local residents and communities to continue following national guidance on social distancing, hand hygiene and use of face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Dr Meinir Jones, Assistant Medical Director and Clinical Lead for the Field Hospital programme, said: “We are extremely proud to have been able to bring our field hospitals into use to care for patients and manage the demand particularly during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of our partners, including Llanelli Town Council and private businesses, came together at speed and scale very early in the pandemic and made it possible for us to have these facilities at our disposal.
“I want to particularly commend the outstanding contribution of our staff, many of whom volunteered to come and work in the field hospitals and who were redeployed from their hospital and community facing roles, for their efforts in caring for patients in new and unfamiliar settings. We have broken new ground and learned so much, while at the same time never dropping our very high standards around patient care and the patient experience. I am extremely proud of you all.”
Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda UHB said: “From the outset it was clear that we could not predict the way the virus would spread and affect our local population, and we have known that being flexible in our use of these facilities would be key to the way we cared for patients.
“We are proud to have been able to bring some of our field hospitals into use to help manage the demand during the second wave in particular, and are currently looking at what level of support we may need going forwards. We are continuing to take a pragmatic and cautious approach by retaining some beds in the Carmarthenshire locality.
“I would like in particular to extend our thanks to Llanelli Town Council for its ongoing support in allowing our retention of the Selwyn Samuel Centre, which will allow us to maintain a bed base for the immediate future.
“This pandemic has taken a tragic toll on human life, and despite the success of the vaccine rollout both locally and nationally, it’s essential that our local communities continue to follow national guidance on all aspects of lockdown restrictions, distancing, hygiene and use of masks – we all still need to continue with the collective effort in the fight against COVID-19.”