UHW, Velindre, Welsh Cancer Research and Questions…

Why has the projected new University Hospital of Wales disappeared from public view for more than half a year?  Can the well-publicised vision for the new UHW really be stalled already? And wouldn’t a general, acute and teaching hospital (UHW2) bring hope to many times more cancer patients than even the planned New Velindre Cancer Centre would? 

If so…

What could have put such an important project as UHW2 on pause? Is Welsh Government really mothballing the programme while heaping funding on a stand-alone New Velindre project that can only yield an outpatients’ cancer unit?

University Hospital of Wales

Or should we buy into the speculations going about that UHW2 is just another casualty of post-Covid austerity? A natural surmise, but then how could half a billion pounds (likely much more) still be heading towards New Velindre, with millions already pouring down on its troubled enabling project? Why this seeming extravagance for a (much needed) new radiotherapy centre but stinginess with the urgency for a major, replacement research and teaching hospital?

Who are the experts?

Also, surely it can’t be that Welsh Government ministers think themselves more expert in cancer care than the world-renowned cancer specialists advising at Welsh research level? Haven’t these medical professors with their experience across Wales, Scotland and England stressed that it’s vital to co-locate a new cancer centre at UHW https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/eminent-clinical-reviewers-on-velindres-plans/ And is it of no importance that the chair, Professor Neil Burnet, repeated all in the Welsh press September 2021?

Style over substance?

Likewise, can it possibly be of no concern to Welsh Government that the lavish New Velindre will be the only ‘cancer centre’ in all of Wales not following best practice in the 21stcentury, namely co-location with a general acute hospital? How actually can this anomaly bring credit to a devolved Wales?

Artist’s impression of New Velindre

What’s going on?

How do we explain apparent Welsh Government disinterest in UHW2 when they approved the New Velindre Outline Business Case in March? Why was such a huge opportunity missed for trumpeting UHW2’s preliminary business case already in government hands? 

For that matter, how do we explain apparent government indifference for six whole years to the speeding up of a new University Hospital of Wales? Why no urgency in view at the potential for co-locating a world-class cancer centre of excellence at UHW2 that would benefit all Wales?

And as a result of this seeming indifference, how can people be sure of genuine goodwill by Welsh Government towards a new UHW? How can they confidently look forward to UHW2, crucial for health service transformation in the region and for all-Wales cancer research?

So doesn’t the Welsh public deserve an explanation for the seemingly unquestioning commitment to a New Velindre outpatients’ unit but apparent indifference to the UHW2 project?

Finally, the biggest question of all: why do all these questions look so similar to other unanswered questions hanging over the ailing health service of the entire Welsh nation?