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New mental health unit proposed in corner of old Cefn Coed Hospital site

The old Cefn Coed Hospital site, Tycoch, Swansea (Pic: Swansea Bay University Health Board)

FEWER houses are likely to be built at a former mental health hospital in Swansea than planned because part of the land is needed for a new unit.

The long-term plan had been to demolish Cefn Coed Hospital, Tycoch, and use the large hilltop site for approximately 350 new homes.

Swansea Bay University Health Board said that figure would now be around 170 houses because a new adult acute mental health unit is proposed in a corner of the site, with extra space allocated for parking and a potential future extension.

The health board has acquired an empty Welsh Ambulance Service Trust building at the Cefn Coed site which it will demolish ahead of the construction of the new mental health unit, subject to planning and other approvals.

The update was given at a health board meeting during a discussion about the organisation’s ageing building estate, how to maintain and where possible improve it over the next decade, and the challenges of having a £102 million maintenance backlog.

Darren Griffiths, director of finance and performance, said the “old, run-down” area at the rear of Garngoch Hospital, near Gorseinon, would be sold off, subject to Welsh Government approval.

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Meanwhile, discussions were under way about the future of a health board building on Phillips Parade, Swansea.

Health chiefs were also told that an area at the front entrance of Morriston Hospital which was turned into a ward during the Covid pandemic would revert back to its previous layout. It’ll provide a patient and visitor waiting area, a dedicated staff welfare space, and services including a discharge lounge and blood testing.

A report before the board said: “Other benefits include the opening up and increasing the footfall through the commercial premises – Costa, Subway and WH Smiths.” The health board hopes to start work in January next year.

Meanwhile, ongoing maintenance at Morriston Hospital will continue, including the installation of a new fire alarm and urgent roof repairs at four wards.

Health chiefs were told in May about the £100 million-plus maintenance backlog, the bulk of which relates to Singleton Hospital (£44 million) and Morriston Hospital (£38 million). A report at the time estimated that £812 million would be needed over the next 10 years to improve the health board’s overall estate and expand specialist services, but it said funding sources were limited.

Mr Griffiths said the board had approached the Welsh Government for help and wanted some “liberated thinking” on the subject of funding. On the plus side, ministers have recently approved nearly £8 million to relocate the critical burns care unit at Morriston Hospital next to the general intensive care unit, along with other upgrades.

The estates report discussed at the November 30 meeting added that candidate sites for housing on health board land were being identified for inclusion in Swansea Council’s next local development plan in order to generate funding.