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University Hospital of Wales

University Hospital of Wales
National Health Service
Location Heath, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Care system Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
Hospital type General
Affiliated university Cardiff University
Emergency department Accident & Emergency
Helipad Yes
Beds 1000
Founded 1971
Lists Hospitals in Wales

University Hospital of Wales (Welsh: Ysbyty Athrofaol Cymru) (UHW) is a major 1000-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 part of Cardiff & Vale NHS Trust. In 2009 the Trust was dissolved and the hospital is now operated by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.[4]


  • History 1
  • Departments 2
    • Accident and Emergency unit 2.1
    • Transplant unit 2.2
    • Hospital radio 2.3
    • Media Resources Centre 2.4
  • In popular culture 3
  • Controversies 4
    • Breaches of the Human Tissue Act 4.1
    • H1N1 virus 4.2
    • Sterility of surgical instruments 4.3
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


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]

In 1978 it was discovered that sections of the main building had deteriorated dangerously and £1 million was spent on repairs. In 1981 the Welsh Office revealed 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]


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

Accident and Emergency unit

The Accident and Emergency unit is the third largest in the United Kingdom and treats on average 750 people every weekend in 2009.[18] 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.[19]

Transplant unit

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.[20]

Hospital radio

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.[21]

Media Resources Centre

The University Hospital of Wales is home to one of best Medical Illustration departments in the UK with expertise in Clinical Photography, Video and Graphics. Covering the entire UHW trust.

In popular culture

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.[22] Two further seasons were broadcast in 2010 and 2011.[23][24]


Breaches of the Human Tissue Act

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.[25]

H1N1 virus

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.[26]

Sterility of surgical instruments

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.[27]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Legal move over £7m repair bill".  
  2. ^ "Science in health gets to the heart of the matter".  
  3. ^ "More hospital emergencies delays".  
  4. ^ "Review of Progress against Healthcare Standards for Wales: Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust" (PDF).  
  5. ^ "Roger Verrier-Jones".  
  6. ^ "University Hospital of Wales celebrates 40 years".  
  7. ^ a b c d e "Birth of UHW".  
  8. ^ Tendler, Stewart (3 April 1973). "Threat to cut heating to 500 patients".  
  9. ^ a b "Parliament: New Welsh Hospital".  
  10. ^ "Mr. S. W. Milburn".  
  11. ^ a b Newman, John (1995). The Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan. London:  
  12. ^ "University Hospital of Wales". The Hospital and Health Services Review: 298. August 1969. 
  13. ^ "Court Circular".  
  14. ^ Ferriman, Annabel (18 March 1982). "New hospitals falling down, MPs maintain".  
  15. ^ "Heath Hospital Cardiff: Courtyard Canopy". Base Structures. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "UHW unit sees the birth of a new era for mums".  
  17. ^ "Health Minister opens new Women's Unit in Cardiff".  
  18. ^ "Real-life sagas in hospital show".  
  19. ^ "EU remodel work update".  
  20. ^ "Patients delighted with UHW's new transplant unit".  
  21. ^ "Hospital Radio Stations Scoop Awards". Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "Real-life sagas in hospital show".  
  23. ^ "University hospital back in the spotlight".  
  24. ^ "Hospital 24/7 series returns to the University Hospital of Wales".  
  25. ^ "'"Mortuary at UHW closed due to 'serious concerns.  
  26. ^ Walsh, Fergus (20 November 2009). "'"Tamiflu-resistant swine flu spreads 'between patients.  
  27. ^ Bolter, Abby (4 June 2010). "Surgeons cancel operations over 'dirty' instruments".  

External links

  • "University Hospital of Wales is 40 years old".  
  • Radio Glamorgan Official Website
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