THREE temporary hospitals have been renamed after the rainbow symbol of hope which has become synonymous with the region’s response to the outbreak of Covid-19.

The temporary hospitals at Deeside Leisure Centre, Venue Cymru Llandudno, and Bangor University have been renamed Ysbyty Enfys Glannau Dyfrdwy (Rainbow Hospital Deeside), Ysbyty Enfys Llandudno (Rainbow Hospital Llandudno), and Ysbyty Enfys Bangor (Rainbow Hospital Bangor).

The three sites have been handed over to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to provide a combined 1,000 additional beds to help meet increased demand over the coming weeks and months.

The health board is working with local authorities and military planners to rapidly establish the hospitals so they can begin providing care for patients by the end of April.

Darren Millar, AM for Clwyd West, said: "The people of North Wales really value the NHS and appreciate the way it has risen to the challenge posed by the current coronavirus pandemic.

"The establishment of the hospitals will come as a huge relief to those who had concerns about the ability of the NHS in our area to cope with the demands of the coronavirus pandemic and will reassure residents across the region.

"It's now vital that work on these hospitals gets underway as soon as possible to ensure that they are ready and equipped to deal with the surge in patients who will need support."

The health board has enlisted the help of Integrated Health Partnerships – who are leading on the development of the Nightingale field hospital in Manchester – to support the delivery of the temporary hospitals in Deeside and Bangor.

As well as preventing admissions to BCUHB’s three acute hospitals, the rainbow hospitals will also help patients who have received treatment at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Glan Clwyd Hospital and Wrexham Maelor Hospital to recover in order to return home.

James Davies, MP for Vale of Clwyd, said: "“North Wales has often been left behind when it comes to health services and so, following concerns raised in recent weeks, it is reassuring to see plans now developing for three field hospitals, in conjunction with the military.

"In addition to this, further bed capacity of 1,000 is being freed up within the three main acute hospitals, and 80 new beds are being provided at Glan Clwyd Hospital. Construction work is underway using void space left as part of the Glan Clwyd’s recent redevelopment, and these beds will be ready to use at the end of April.

“It is important that the number of additional beds available is kept under regular review, and I and my colleagues will continue to engage regularly and closely with all agencies involved.”

Mark Polin, chair of the health board, said: "Our staff have been incredibly moved by the outpouring of support from the general public, including the many images of rainbows displayed in the windows of homes across North Wales. We have also been inundated with very generous offers of help from partner organisations, businesses and members of the public.

“By working together we can meet the challenges of the difficult few weeks and months ahead."

The three rainbow hospitals have been established to reduce occupancy in BCUHB’s main hospitals so that they can focus upon the care of the patients at greatest need.

Patients receiving care in the temporary hospitals will not require intubation, so ventilators will not be required, but BCUHB is sourcing all necessary additional medical equipment.

Significant work is also underway to increase the health board’s workforce capacity in order to staff the temporary hospitals.

BCUHB has processed hundreds of applications to join its staff bank. It is also recruiting former and retired health service staff and providing student nurses and doctors with paid NHS roles.

Many staff currently working in non-clinical areas have joined a database of employees who can be redeployed to support clinical areas when needed.

Residents in the immediate vicinity of the three temporary hospitals are being reassured there is no risk to their health and that they should continue to follow the Welsh Government’s stay at home guidance.