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24 Mar 2020

Coronavirus: Welsh leisure centres and stadiums being converted into hospital wards
BY Tom Walker

The stadium is the home of Pro14 rugby union club Scarlets

The stadium is the home of Pro14 rugby union club Scarlets
photo: Shutterstock

Leisure centres and stadiums are being transformed into emergency hospital wards in Wales, as part of measures to tackle the unprecedented challenges placed on the NHS.

Selwyn Samuel Centre in Llanelli, Carmarthen Leisure Centre and the Parc y Scarlets stadium in Llanelli are among those being used to create hundreds of additional hospital beds.

Parc y Scarlets is the home of Pro14 rugby union club Scarlets, which made the decision to hand over its venue to help relieve the strain on services after discussions with Carmarthen County Council and the Hywel Dda University Health Board.

“Community has always been a huge part of what we are about and in unprecedented times like these communities stick together," said Scarlets general manager of rugby Jon Daniels.

“The health service and workers are doing an incredible job in challenging circumstances and we are happy to be offering help and support in any way we can."

As well as handing over the keys to the main stadium, Scarlets has also made the Juno Moneta Indoor Arena available to the NHS.

Dr Phil Kloer, medical director and deputy chief executive at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “Delivering these additional beds for patients will be essential to help us manage patient flow over the coming weeks and we are extremely grateful for all of the support that we are receiving from our local authority partner to help make this happen.

“We have followed the situation in Italy closely to learn where possible and to help our planning. Our European colleagues have provided feedback that patient flow and throughput is a critical factor in response to COVID-19 pressures.”

Councillor Jane Tremlett, Carmarthenshire County Council’s executive board member for health and social care, added: “It's only through working together that we can meet these challenges. I would like to thank Llanelli Town Council and Parc y Scarlets for their support.”

In addition, the Welsh Rugby Union has made its Principality Stadium available to the Welsh Assembly government and the NHS to aid the fight against the pandemic.

Other sports venues which are currently being utilised in the fight against COVID-19 include the Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland, which is being used as a drive-by test clinic by the Irish government.



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