University Hospital of Wales

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University Hospital of Wales
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park - Cardiff - - 1736088.jpg
University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park
University Hospital of Wales is located in Cardiff
University Hospital of Wales
Shown in Cardiff
LocationHeath, Cardiff, Wales
Coordinates51°30′25″N 3°11′24″W / 51.507°N 3.190°W / 51.507; -3.190Coordinates: 51°30′25″N 3°11′24″W / 51.507°N 3.190°W / 51.507; -3.190
Care systemNHS Wales
Affiliated universityCardiff University School of Medicine
Emergency departmentYes
Construction started1963-1969
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata
ListsHospitals in Wales

University Hospital of Wales (Welsh: Ysbyty Athrofaol Cymru) (UHW), also known as the Heath Hospital, is a major 1,000-bed hospital in the Heath district of Cardiff, Wales. UHW is a teaching hospital of Cardiff University School of Medicine. Construction started in 1963, with the official opening in 1971. It was Europe's first fully integrated hospital and medical school, at a cost of £22 million.[1] The hospital is the third largest University Hospital in the UK, and the largest hospital in Wales.[2][3] The hospital was previously managed by Cardiff & Vale NHS Trust. In 2009 the Trust was dissolved and the hospital is now managed by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.[4]



Planning for construction of the hospital first began in 1951.[5] The land was provided by Cardiff Council who selected the site based on its accessibility from other parts of Wales as well as within Cardiff.[6][7] The Welsh Board of Health and University Grants Committee outlined the criteria for an 820-bed hospital in 1953 and proposed a competition for architects to submit plans, although this was not sanctioned until 1958 due to "concerns over funding."[7][8] The competition was launched in April 1959 and judged by Sir Percy Thomas (Past President of the Royal Institute of British Architects), J.H. Forshaw (FRIBA), F.R.S. Yorke (FRIBA), A. Trevor Jones (Provost of the Welsh National School of Medicine), and A.R. Culley (medical member of the Welsh Board of Health).[9] Forty entries were submitted and the winning design was by Stanley Wayman Milburn (1887-1961), an architect with a special interest in schools and hospitals and who had previously designed 10 hospitals in the north east of England.[9][10][11] The architecture of the hospital is "dominated by long, parallel slabs, one eight-storied, the other five-storied. The Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, completed in 1975, followed a similar design.[11] Construction began in 1963 and the dental school opened to clinical students in 1965.[7] Construction of the main hospital building began in 1966 and the topping out ceremony was conducted by G.R. Findlater on 4 July 1969, the eve of the 21st anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service.[7][12] The hospital was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 19 November 1971.[7][13]


The main building was found in 1978 to have deteriorated dangerously; £1 million was spent on repairs. The Welsh Office revealed in 1981 that a further £7.7 million was required for repairs.[1][14]

In 2005 a £1 million project by Base Structures to construct a walkway joining separate parts of the hospital was completed.[15]

A £16 million birthing centre was opened at the hospital in August 2009, featuring three birthing pools.[16] The Midwife Led Unit handles around 90 births a month. A new delivery suite has also been built at the Women's Unit which was completed in February 2010. It includes 14 delivery rooms and two dedicated operating theatres.[17]

In early 2019, the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board announced plans to build a new hospital by 2030, as part of a wider reorganisation of hospital services, including the University Hospital at Llandough, Noah's Ark Children's Hospital, Cardiff Royal Infirmary, Barry Hospital and Whitchurch Hospital.[18]

In September 2020, the University Hospital of Wales became the major trauma centre for the South Wales region.[19]

On 8 February 2021, Lakeside Wing was completed, after 20 weeks from ground breaking, the modular building currently houses multi-disciplinary model of care, staff including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, healthcare support workers and registered nurses are all working in the three-storey facility. Lakeside Wing accommodates up to 400 beds.[20]


A MBB Bo 105 Helicopter landing at the University Hospital of Wales helipad.

Accident and Emergency unit[edit]

The Accident and Emergency unit is the third largest in the United Kingdom and treats on average 750 people every weekend in 2009.[21] The unit was scheduled to have a £3.4 million refit in 2013 but this has been rescheduled due to increased demand on the service and the disruption the work would cause.[22] In July 2020 the "call before you walk" system was adopted. Less severely ill patients are to be directed to other services and those who need to be in A&E will be given an appointment. An analysis of 515 patients who attended on 18 November 2019 found that 109 patients could have been given advice on how to treat themselves or been seen elsewhere.[23]

Transplant unit[edit]

A £4.27m transplant unit opened in August 2010. The unit had been planned over three years and is on the top floor of a new building that also houses a renal outpatients’ department. It replaced a unit on ward B5 to increase availability of kidney transplants in Cardiff. UHW is Wales’ only kidney transplant centre and caters for patients from South, Mid and West Wales.[24]

Hospital radio[edit]

The University Hospital of Wales is home to Radio Glamorgan, founded in 1967. In March 2014, the station won three national awards at the National Hospital Broadcasting Association awards held in Bristol.[25]

Car Parking[edit]

Parking facilities at the hospital were managed by Indigo Park Services UK Limited on a 15-year contract until June 2018. Indigo made a profit of £2.8 million in 2016 from this contract, from charges and fines. 80 staff who have been fined are challenging the fines in court.[26] A three-day trial in the small claims court ruled that staff had to pay £128 for each parking ticket, and the costs of the hearing, which amounted to £29,000. There were three lead cases and the result was binding on 72 others. The company cancelled parking charge notices issued up to the end of March 2016. There are more than 100,000 unpaid tickets outstanding.[27] Parking is now managed by Parking Eye Ltd.[28]

In popular culture[edit]

University Hospital of Wales was the subject of the television series Hospital 24/7, a documentary drama from BBC One about patients and staff of the hospital. The first season was filmed in August 2008 and broadcast in January 2009.[29] Two further seasons were broadcast in 2010 and 2011.[30][31]


Breaches of the Human Tissue Act[edit]

In August 2009 postmortem examinations had to be stopped at the hospital following an inspection which revealed serious breaches of the Human Tissue Act 2004, including the unauthorized storage of human brains.[32]

H1N1 virus[edit]

In November 2009 the first person-to-person transmission of Tamiflu-resistant H1N1 in the world was confirmed at the hospital. Five patients were infected, with three apparently having been infected in the hospital itself in a case of iatrogenic transmission.[33]

Sterility of surgical instruments[edit]

In June 2010 surgery was discontinued temporarily after surgeons complained the instruments they had been given had not been sterilized properly and were visibly dirty.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Legal move over £7m repair bill". The Times. London. 19 February 1981. p. 4.
  2. ^ "Science in health gets to the heart of the matter". Cardiff University. 14 March 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  3. ^ "More hospital emergencies delays". BBC News. 1 March 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Review of Progress against Healthcare Standards for Wales: Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust" (PDF). Healthcare Inspectorate Wales. Caerphilly. 2009. p. 23. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Roger Verrier-Jones". Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  6. ^ "University Hospital of Wales celebrates 40 years". BBC News. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Birth of UHW". Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  8. ^ Tendler, Stewart (3 April 1973). "Threat to cut heating to 500 patients". The Times. London. p. 2.
  9. ^ a b "Parliament: New Welsh Hospital". The Times. London. 17 May 1960. p. 4.
  10. ^ "Mr. S. W. Milburn". The Times. London. 20 June 1961. p. 17.
  11. ^ a b Newman, John (1995). The Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan. London: Penguin Books. p. 119. ISBN 9780140710564.
  12. ^ "University Hospital of Wales". The Hospital and Health Services Review: 298. August 1969.
  13. ^ "Court Circular". The Times. London. 16 November 1971. p. 17. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 2 November 2013.
  14. ^ Ferriman, Annabel (18 March 1982). "New hospitals falling down, MPs maintain". The Times. London. p. 4.
  15. ^ "Heath Hospital Cardiff: Courtyard Canopy". Base Structures. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  16. ^ "UHW unit sees the birth of a new era for mums". WalesOnline. Cardiff. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Health Minister opens new Women's Unit in Cardiff". Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  18. ^ Discombe, Matt. "Plans to replace University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff with new hospital are revealed". Wales Online.
  19. ^ Smith, Mark (28 July 2020). "South Wales' major trauma network: What is going to change for patients". WalesOnline. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Lakeside Wing". Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Real-life sagas in hospital show". BBC News. 12 January 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  22. ^ "EU remodel work update". Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  23. ^ "Coronavirus: People told to phone ahead before going to A&E". BBC. 14 July 2020. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  24. ^ "Patients delighted with UHW's new transplant unit". Wales Online. Cardiff. 30 August 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  25. ^ "Hospital Radio Stations Scoop Awards". Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  26. ^ "Hospital parking firm makes £2.8million in just 12 months from just one car park". Daily Mirror. 20 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  27. ^ "More than 70 doctors and nurses taken to court over parking tickets at Wales' biggest hospital". Wales on line. 17 July 2017. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  28. ^ Smith, Mark. "Parking at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff is now free". Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  29. ^ "Real-life sagas in hospital show". BBC News. 12 January 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  30. ^ "University hospital back in the spotlight". BBC News. 17 August 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  31. ^ "Hospital 24/7 series returns to the University Hospital of Wales". WalesOnline. Cardiff. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  32. ^ "Mortuary at UHW closed due to 'serious concerns'". WalesOnline. Cardiff. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  33. ^ Walsh, Fergus (20 November 2009). "Tamiflu-resistant swine flu spreads 'between patients'". BBC News. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  34. ^ Bolter, Abby (4 June 2010). "Surgeons cancel operations over 'dirty' instruments". WalesOnline. Cardiff. Retrieved 2 November 2013.

External links[edit]