Local Member of the Welsh Parliament for Monmouth, Nick Ramsay, asked the First Minister in Plenary this week to make a statement on the opening of the Grange University Hospital.
The First Minister confirmed that the new critical care hospital will now open in mid-November this year ahead of the original planned date on March 2021. He explained that in the coronavirus context “it would provide critical care and acute respiratory care to 600,000 people in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area.
After thanking all the construction workers who helped keep the project on time and on budget Nick said: “You've just touched on the hospitals' role in the COVID-19 pandemic, could you say a little bit more about any discussions that your officials have had with the local health board about a strategy of using the hospital for COVID cases, and therefore removing the risk of infection from the other general hospitals in the Gwent area? And also is the Welsh Government looking at transport links to the new hospital? I have raised this before, as there are concerns about connectivity. The A4042 through Monmouthshire badly needs upgrading and there's also certainly a need for better public transport links for patients and for families to and from the new hospital.”
In reply the First Minister stated: The new hospital “is very much part of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board's plan for dealing with those people who fall acutely ill and will need urgent respiratory care in response to coronavirus. So, the Grange hospital will be pivotal over the months during the winter when those sorts of services may be even more necessary than they have been in the spring and summer period.
“I thank the Member for what he asked about public transport, and I know he's raised this in a recent article in the South Wales Argus. The university health board confirmed to me yesterday that there will be a public bus service to the site when the hospital is open in November—buses will drop off at a dedicated point on the site. There are bus services that will link Newport, Caerleon, Cwmbran and the site itself, and there are further discussions going on to confirm all those services, but the health board is determined that public transport to the site will be there from the time the hospital opens, and will be available to those who need to use it.
“The Member has asked me previously about the state of the A4042. I know he will be aware of the actions that have been taken to improve drainage along the road in recent times, and there is some evidence that those investments are paying a dividend and that some of the interruptions to the road—particularly through flooding in recent years—may now have been resolved through the schemes that have been put in place and the improvements that have been made on adjacent third party land.”