100 extra beds planned for Powys hospitals in coronavirus fight

Another 100 beds are planned for hospitals in Powys as they deal with an increase in coronavirus patients.

Extra hospital beds are being arranged for Powys
Extra hospital beds are being arranged for Powys

Powys Teaching Local Health Board said three hospitals have been set up as centres for the county's sickest patients, including Victoria Memorial Hospital Welshpool.

Community hospitals and care centres across the county will also be seeing extra beds, including at Newtown, Llanidloes and Machynlleth.

Carol Shillabeer, chief executive of Powys Teaching Health Board, said: “I am tremendously proud of the response of our staff here in Powys in such unprecedented times. As part of our plan for coronavirus we expect to be caring for many more sicker patients in the county than would normally be the case. We already have plans for 100 additional beds, and we are also working on plans for additional surge in capacity if needed.

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“Breconshire War Memorial Hospital, Llandrindod Wells Memorial Hospital and Victoria Memorial Hospital Welshpool will be our centres for the sickest patients in the county. This will mean more people can be cared for in Powys, reducing the need for them to be admitted to acute hospital, and bringing them closer to home when they are more stable and no longer need acute hospital care.

“In our community hospitals and health and care centres in Bronllys, Builth Wells, Knighton, Llanidloes, Machynlleth, Newtown and Ystradgynlais we are also increasing the number of beds and enhancing the level of county community hospital care for those who need it.”

Mrs Shillabeer said they would basically be creating a 'virtual field hospital'.

She said: “Right now many of our beds are empty. This is the right thing to do, so that we are able to accommodate people quickly when they become ill. All of our hospitals will have a vital role to play, and we are very lucky in Powys that we are able to create lots of additional capacity within our existing hospitals, effectively creating a ‘virtual field hospital’ across the county.”

Mrs Shillabeer said they have plans for whether patients need care in the community – or in intensive care.

She said: “Most people with coronavirus will have mild to moderate symptoms which can be managed at home. But some will experience more serious illness, and our plans will make sure that they are cared for in the county wherever possible.

"We also have strong pathways of care in place so that patients who need more specialist hospital care, including ventilation, can continue to access this through the network of district general hospitals around our borders. They have the specialist expertise to provide intensive and critical care for the most seriously ill, and we are ready to support those patients back into Powys for their continued care and recovery.”

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