Minister forced to defend under-used field hospitals following lockdown success

(Title Image: Cllr Huw Thomas, via Twitter)

Health Minister, Vaughan Gething (Lab, Cardiff S. & Penarth), was forced to defend a £166million network of 17 field hospitals across Wales after figures revealed that only one – Dragon’s Heart Hospital at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff – actually received patients.

While this is a sign that lockdown restrictions worked to contain the spread of Covid-19, Swansea University’s Prof. Ceri Phillips told BBC Wales it was a poor use of resources, adding that “elective operations were cancelled, the level of demand was reduced, out-patients was reorganised so people weren’t coming into hospital.”

The Minister accepted the Welsh Government would’ve made different decisions with the benefit of hindsight, but the need for field hospitals was made apparent when Italy’s health service was overwhelmed at the start of the (first wave of the) pandemic.

The Minister said, “If we had needed extra capacity, in much greater numbers, and I had not acted as I did, I think the public would have rightly said, ‘Why on earth didn’t that man in charge do something about it?'”

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