Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig – The Dragon’s Heart Hospital at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff is the largest temporary hospital in Wales and the second largest in the UK. The hospital has been established by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, as part of the organisation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In legend, Y Ddraig Goch fought with and eventually defeated an invading white dragon. Ancient Britons, who were not conquered by the Saxons and would later become Welsh, took the white dragon to represent the invading Saxons and saw themselves in Y Ddraig Goch. This image of defence and standing steadfast in the face of adversity led to the dragon being adopted as the heraldic symbol of Wales and it is in this spirit that we
have chosen this name.
An Ambitious Undertaking
In light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, and the rising number of confirmed cases testing positive for COVID-19, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board identified that additional bed space would be needed to accommodate patients in the Cardiff and Vale area.
In a collaborative effort with support from the Welsh Rugby Union, Cardiff Council and Cardiff Blues, the Principality Stadium and surrounding areas were identified as suitable venues to accommodate the anticipated increase in demand, and Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig – the Dragon’s Heart Hospital was born, with the first 300 of potentially 2,000 beds available within just 10 days.
Funded by Welsh Government to support the communities of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, and potentially across other health board areas in Wales, Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig is a ‘step-up and step-down’ hospital with patients who are coming to the end of their treatment of the virus and require rehabilitation and support as part of their recovery and sadly for some, end of life palliative care.
On-site facilities include mobile x-ray, CT scanners, a pharmacy and an end-of-life pathway of care for people in the last weeks or days of their life. In Cardiff Blues’ adjacent Arms Park stadium there is a Staff Haven rest area and a reception area for relatives.
More than 650 people have been employed to either work at Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig or back-fill posts at the University Hospital of Wales, replacing those staff who are relocating alongside hundreds of local volunteers.