GWENT’S newest hospital will play a “pivotal” critical care role this winter as the NHS in Wales prepares for the effects of Covid-19 on the busiest time of year.

The £360 million Grange University Hospital is scheduled to open in mid-November and will serve as the specialist emergency care hospital for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board region.

Speaking in the Senedd, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the Grange is “very much part of the health board’s plan for dealing with those people who fall acutely ill and will need urgent respiratory care in response to coronavirus”.

He added: “The Grange University 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.”

Coronavirus cases have continued to rise across Wales in recent weeks, and three of Gwent's five council areas - Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, and Newport - are currently under local lockdown restrictions to try to stem the tide of new infections.


Mr Drakeford was asked by Monmouth MS Nick Ramsay whether transport links to the new hospital, in Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, had been considered.

The Grange is located on a new site on the edge of Cwmbran, and travelling to and from the new hospital will likely be a very different experience for patients used to visiting the health board’s current general hospitals, located in built-up areas of Newport and Abergavenny.

South Wales Argus:

The Grange University Hospital earlier in its construction

Mr Drakeford said the health board had confirmed earlier this week that a public bus service will be up-and-running when the hospital opens, and routes will link the Grange to Newport, Cwmbran and Caerleon, stopping at a “dedicated point on the site”.

“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,” said Mr Drakeford.

Mr Ramsay had previously raised concerns in his regular Argus column that the decision to bring forward the new hospital’s opening date could mean proper transport links had not been finalised.

In the Senedd he also asked the First Minister about the condition of the A4042, which will serve as one of the main routes to the new hospital for patients living in northern Monmouthshire.

The road has been affected by several incidents of flooding during bad weather in recent years.

Mr Drakeford said there had been recent work to improve drainage along the A4042, and “there is some evidence that those investments are paying a dividend, and that some of the interruptions to the road - particular through flooding in recent years - may now have been resolved”.

The First Minister joined Mr Ramsay in praising the efforts of the Grange University Hospital's construction workers in getting the site ready earlier than planned.

Contractors for the project are Laing O'Rourke, and construction consultants are Gleeds.

Mr Drakeford described the hospital as "a major project... delivered on budget and ahead of time, and that really is a tribute to those who planned it and executed it".