THE official opening of Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig – the Dragon’s Heart Hospital at the Principality Stadium – was hosted earlier this week by Welsh rugby star Jamie Roberts.

The temporary hospital is the largest temporary hospital in Wales and the second-largest in the UK.

It has been funded by the Welsh Government to support communities in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan during the coronavirus pandemic.

It will provide additional beds to treat patients and relieve pressure on local facilities including Llandough Hospital in Penarth.

Minister for health and social services and AM for Cardiff South and Penarth Vaughan Gething gave a speech at the ceremony.

The proceedings ended with a video link address by Prince Charles.

Prince Charles’ official harpist, Alis Huws, gave a performance at the ceremony.

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 for critical care.

Vaughan Gething said: “The sheer scale of effort that has gone into creating this incredible field hospital here in the heart of our capital city is nothing short of astonishing.

“This effort is being replicated across Wales, with capacity increasing from 10,000 beds to 17,000 in a matter of weeks.

“By ramping up the number of beds available in settings such as this, we can make sure there is capacity in our hospitals to care for those most in need during these extraordinary times.”

On-site facilities include mobile X-ray, CT scanners, a pharmacy and a palliative care unit.

During the past few weeks, more than 650 people have been employed to work at Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig or backfill posts at the University Hospital of Wales, replacing those staff who are relocating alongside hundreds of local volunteers.