Health leaders delighted as Swansea Bay City Deal is given green light
Health and life science chiefs in South West Wales have welcomed the confirmation of the Swansea Bay City Region City Deal funding today from Westminster.
The City Deal is the biggest investment for South West Wales in a generation worth more than £1.3billion. The investment package aims to transform the economic landscape of the area with high-spec digital infrastructure and world-class facilities in the fields of health and life science innovation, energy and smart manufacturing.
The City Deal is expected to deliver nearly 10,000 new jobs and increase the value of goods and services produced in the region by £1.8billion.
The Swansea Bay City Region includes the local authority areas of Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Pembrokeshire and Neath Port Talbot, joined by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Hywel Dda University Health Boards, Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity St David’s, and private sector partners.
ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) forms the health and wellbeing strand of the City Deal.
ARCH is a unique partnership between ABM and Hywel Dda University Health Boards and Swansea University aimed at improving the health, wealth and wellbeing of South West Wales. ARCH was formed to tackle some of the major challenges the health service faces on a daily basis.
ABM University Health Board and ARCH chair Professor Andrew Davies has praised the news. He said: “We are delighted that the City Deal has been supported by Welsh Government and UK Government as this will help transform the health and economic opportunities of our region.
“The funding will also help us accelerate the development of health science campuses at Morriston and Singleton and the Wellness and Life Science Village in Carmarthenshire.
“One of the strengths of ARCH has been its effectiveness as a vehicle for the three partners to develop joint solutions, which meet the challenges facing the health sector.
“The development of the City Deal will help us set the regional infrastructure and approach to support transformation in South West Wales.
“The Swansea Bay City Region is a bold vision which members of the ARCH Board have played a significant role in shaping.”
ABMU Medical Director and ARCH board member Professor Hamish Laing added that the announcement would help accelerate specific projects within ARCH aimed at creating an NHS fit for the 21st Century. Professor Laing said: “The announcement today is great news for our citizens and for our Health Board.
“This new money will help tackle some of the causes of illness and improve the wellbeing of our communities as well as seeing exciting developments in research, innovation and education alongside Morriston and Singleton Hospitals.
“The City Region team which presented our exciting ideas to government, led by Swansea Council’s Councillor Rob Stewart and Carmarthenshire Council’s Mark James, has done a great job in making the case for investment in the region.
“As a health board we have digital ambitions which will be fundamental to a new way of providing healthcare.
“ARCH includes a strong digital component which seeks to build on the opportunities arising from the City Deal to set the regional infrastructure and approach to support service transformation. We believe they are fundamental to a new way of providing healthcare, and together across the region helping to create financial sustainability and empowering our citizens as well as delivering preventative advice and services to our population.”
Hywel Dda University Health Board chair and ARCH board member Bernardine Rees OBE said: “We are absolutely delighted with the outcome of the City Deal as it opens up so many opportunities for collaborative working which will improve patient experience here in the West.
“It’s about collaboration not centralisation. Together working with patients, public and staff we can support both wellness and illness.
“We welcome this new way of working across the region and as a health board realise the value regional working adds an attractor for new NHS and life science professionals to come and train, work and live here.”
City Deal partners have worked together for over a year to develop and submit a detailed proposal to the Welsh and UK Governments, with 11 specific projects spread across the region.
The announcement signalled the start of investment and development on an unprecedented scale. £241million of central government funding, split between the UK and Welsh Government, would be added to £360million of other public sector funding and £673million of private sector contributions to make up the total investment package.
Professor Marc Clement, ARCH board member and Swansea University’s Vice-President and Dean of School of Management, was part of the City Deal team who put the bid together. He said: “This City Deal will accelerate ARCH’s plans for Morriston and Singleton to become world-class health science campuses.
“The plans for Morriston include South Wales’s third Institute of Life Science (ILS), creating a unique health & life science innovation environment.
“This City Deal will allow the ARCH partnership to tap into the decade of success delivered through Swansea University’s ILS. Morriston will become an environment where health & life science innovation can be encouraged, proven, embedded and taken to regional, national and global marketplaces.
“The reconfiguration of real estate within ABM University Health Board will facilitate expansion of Singleton Hospital and university campus into a second health science campus where a growing cluster of medical and other health technology companies and collaborations will be focused.”
The Singleton Health Campus will see the establishment of Swansea University’s Healthcare Technology Centre – a core component of the ARCH science park vision for Singleton. This second health campus will create significant new employment within high GVA sectors, the campuses will have complementary focus on technology and clinical innovation, supporting development across a broad range of technology readiness levels.
Professor Clement added: “The City Deal offers this region a huge opportunity to lead world-class medical research and capitalise on the growing cluster of innovative life science and healthcare companies in our area.
“We want to create an environment where health and life science innovation can be encouraged, proven, embedded and taken to regional, national and global marketplaces.”
Along with the health campus development projects, ARCH is planning to create a regional network of health & wellbeing schemes. The schemes will ensure people can access the care and support they need in their communities to help reduce demand on a pressurised secondary care system.
The schemes aim to regenerate and breathe life back into communities, providing improved educational and employment opportunities – the two most powerful determinants of health and wellbeing.
Professor Clement added: “£40million of City Deal funding would be dedicated to the first of these schemes – the Llanelli Wellness & Life Science Village.
“The Carmarthenshire Council-led project in Delta Lakes will create life science and health employment and investment opportunities. The village will be based around primary and community care facilities, and create an Institute of Life Science for Hywel Dda University Health Board, as well as education and skills development capability, and sport, leisure and tourism facilities.
“The village will see the integration of business development, education, wellness initiatives, research and development and healthcare.
“By working together we know we can create a region which can attract new partnerships, new investment and become a leader in life science innovation and research.”
Prof Ceri Phillips, Head of College of Human and Health Sciences and ARCH board member, said the progress of the ARCH partnership was already well underway but that a City Deal would significantly accelerate projects.
Professor Phillips said: “We were delighted to see the College’s first Health & Wellbeing Academy opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing & Sport Vaughan Gething on the Singleton campus earlier this month. We have ambitions to establish a second academy at the Llanelli Wellness & Life Science Village. A vital component of ARCH is providing regional solutions to issues such as workforce. As the largest providers of non-medical health professions in Wales, we are committed to rolling out the academy across the area to benefit both ABM and Hywel Dda populations.
“This City Deal will allow us to progress phase two of the academy at the Delta Lakes site. The academies aim to ease pressure on the health service through a range of non-medical treatments and alternative ways for people to manage their own health and wellbeing. They will also enrich the experience of our students by providing them with hands on experience in a clinical setting and provide them with extra opportunities for meaningful patient interaction across both our health boards.”
View the video about ARCH and the Swansea Bay City Region Deal.