Julie Morgan AM for Cardiff North
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Julie Morgan AM for Cardiff North

Velindre update - September 2020

VELINDRE UPDATE, September 11, 2020


I’ve continued to have regular meetings with Velindre NHS Trust and put forward all the concerns and questions I’ve received from constituents.

At the last meeting we discussed an independent clinical review of the standalone cancer care model. I support this and I’m pleased that Velindre is now considering it.

I also asked detailed questions about the following. The answers I’ve received to date are detailed below each question:


The ‘Barrett review’ – I asked if there had been a review of the stand-alone clinical for Velindre?


The new Velindre Cancer Centre should not be seen in isolation or as ‘standalone’. It was always planned to be part of an integrated network of non-surgical cancer services and buildings for people living across south east Wales. And we always knew this would mean staff at Velindre working differently i.e. in a more integrated way with local elective diagnostic and treatment and unscheduled care (acute oncology) services. These Velindre @ services were also always likely to include a specialist unit with early phase clinical trials for drugs not used in humans before, advanced therapies and acutely unwell patients on an acute teaching hospital location.


We want to provide services closer to people’s homes. Our clinicians already treat patients in other hospitals and we will do more of this. One example is our proposal to provide radiotherapy services at a new Velindre satellite centre at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny.


Despite treating more people closer to home, there’s still a growing need for a centre where patients receive specialist services such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, cancer diagnostic tests and outpatient assessments


The new cancer centre in Whitchurch will be ideally located by the A470 and M4 to provide these services to patients whether they are travelling from in South East Wales.



Dr Jane Barrett has been involved in two reports on the Transforming Cancer Services Programme.

·         In January 2017, she was the clinical lead in an independent external review of the programme – known as a Gateway 0 Review.  Its purpose was to review the outcomes and objectives for the programme and to confirm that they make the necessary contribution to Welsh Government strategy.

·         Then in June of the same year, she was a member of an Evaluation Panel which approved a Site Selection Evaluation Report recommending that the preferred location of the Radiotherapy Satellite Centre should be Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny.



Are there plans to build a conference centre as the wording in the planning application refers to this?


No, the ‘conference centre’ will be a ‘Centre for Collaborative Learning’.

Of the 773 car parking spaces we have planned, 43 are for visitors which would include anyone attending events at the cancer centre.

I am awaiting further detail on this facility.


I’ve been told that the number of emergency calls to Velindre is higher than the 30 per year stated. Is this correct?


We treat tens of thousands of patients at the cancer centre every year and fewer than 30 patients a year on average need an unplanned emergency transfer.

Of these 30 patients, fewer than 10 patients a year are critically unwell and have access to the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTs) who can assess, stabilise and transfer these unwell patients to the University Hospital of Wales (UHW). UHW is less than three miles away and can be reached within minutes.

If the new cancer centre was on a large acute site, the size of the site could still mean that patients need an ambulance transfer.


A constituent is concerned that the Hollybush emergency road will be used for construction. Please can you clarify whether there are plans to do so?


We will use three roads for construction overall:

·         The temporary construction access road through Lady Cory’s Field will be used for the construction of the two bridges only

·         The temporary construction access road through Whitchurch Hospital will be used for the construction of the bridges and for construction of the main cancer centre

·         The main access through Asda will be used for construction of the main cancer centre only


We will not use the emergency bridge by the Hollybush Estate for construction traffic.  The only time that construction traffic will enter the Hollybush Estate is for some of the construction of the emergency bridge alone.



Were there any discussions with Cadw about using the old Whitchurch Hospital?


I am awaiting details.


We understand that Cadw plans to assess the old railway line bridges for listing – how might this impact on your plans?


Yes we know of plans to check the bridges for listing. This will not impact in any major way on the schedule.


Why does the number of parking spaces on the plans for the new building appear to be dramatically higher than at the current hospital (even given current parking problems)?


Firstly, the currently parking arrangements are completely inadequate – too often people can’t find somewhere to park on our site so they’re then parking locally.

If we were just to replace what we currently need that would be a significant expansion.

If you then factor in the forecast growth of the cancer centre over the years we need more again. We’re confident that the number we’ve got is sufficient in terms of forecast growth. We wouldn’t want pressures arising on the Hollybush estate.





In previous meetings I’ve asked the following questions and received the answers detailed below each question:



1.         What concessions can be made to the residents who are concerned about how much of the northern meadows land will be taken up by the build i.e. could the access road be built nearer to the side of the site?


We can discuss changes to the route of the access road and parking facilities with the community and the competing MIM contractors during the procurement process.


2.         Could you do something about the amount of space the car park takes up and what ideas do you have? 


There are certain ways in which the multi-level car park could be constructed to reduce the visual impact, taking advantage of site slope. This could include bridging over certain areas and potentially installing green turf roofs.

Another way we could reduce the impact would be to use the areas around the cricket ground and next to the hospice for staff car parking. This would require additional ground to be purchased and further planning consent agreed.


3.         What considerations have been made about the impact the building of the new cancer centre will have on climate change?


Our ambition is to be carbon neutral. We are committed to a new Velindre Cancer Centre which minimises energy use and uses renewable energy.

We want an energy efficient building that reduces the on-going demands on fossil fuel.

The overall design principle should be ‘fabric first.’ This means that we should orientate the highly insulated building and use glass for daylight and solar radiation. It also means that we should provide shade from the sun to prevent overheating, and passive ventilation to avoid an over-reliance on air conditioning and fans.

Such a design should minimise reliance on complex technologies requiring long term maintenance and energy use.

We want to take advantage of opportunities for on-site energy generation. This should be an integrated part of the design to provide resilient services for the heating, cooling and power demands of the site.

We will ask our designers to consider green technologies such as:

  • Solar photo voltaic panels to generate electricity and solar heating panels to heat water
  • Combined Heat and Power systems
  • Ground source heating

Using the benefits of passive solar gains whilst controlling and avoiding overheating

We have laid down minimum standards of energy efficient design. Evaluation points will be awarded for this as part of the criteria for selecting the successful contractor.

We will adopt a Green Travel Plan for our staff.


4.         Were young people’s views taken into account about the development as required by the Wellbeing and Future Generations Act?


We wrote to all the local schools with the aim of engaging them with the development.

We want to involve young people in the design of the new cancer centre, working with local schools, youth groups and individual young people.


5.         Was the HMRC site in Llanishen or the old Hoover Factory site in Merthyr considered?


No. Only sites in NHS ownership were considered, in order to ensure deliverability and avoid uncertainties and unnecessary procurement costs.

Merthyr Tydfil would not be as good a location for the majority of our patients.


6.         When the temporary access roads are removed, what will be done to return the area back to its former state?


Licences from landowners require a full reinstatement.

Reinstatement includes all landscaping features in accordance with the specifications and timescales set out in the planning consent conditions and green infrastructure management strategies.