Providing critical oxygen delivery system to Dragon’s Heart Hospital

Dragon Heart Covid 19

Project: Dragon’s Heart Hospital Principality Stadium

Client: N G Bailey / Cardiff & Vale University Health Board

Timing: April 2020

Value: £1.6M


Without oxygen the Dragon’s Heart Hospital, conceived as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, could not function. Demonstrating outstanding commitment, the Medical Gases’ team designed, delivered and installed a system serving 1586 beds at the Dragon’s Heart Hospital in the Principality Stadium in just four weeks.



In light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, and the rising number of confirmed cases testing positive for Covid-19, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board identified that additional bed space would be needed to accommodate patients in the area.

The Principality Stadium was identified as a suitable venue to accommodate the anticipated increase in demand, and Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig – the Dragon’s Heart Hospital was conceived.

It took Medical Gases just three weeks (9th – 30th April) to install the oxygen terminals essential to the scheme, leaving a week free for commissioning to successfully deliver the project by the 7th May deadline.


The Challenge

The main challenge in delivering oxygen to terminals for the planned 2000 headspaces at the Dragon’s Heart Hospital was time. The hospital needed to be operational within weeks rather than months. Typically, a project of this scales takes two to three years to deliver, Dragon’s Heart had to be delivered in four weeks, from Medical Gases receiving the order to the system being operational. Working within the guidance and restrictions imposed as a response to Covid-19 added an additional complication to a challenging timetable and this was compounded by the Managing Director (On site project managing) contracting Covid-19 in the second week of the contract, followed by the company’s Technical Director, a commissioning engineer, senior project engineer and several members of the workshop team.


The Solution


  • Planning

Medical Gases did a considerable amount of organising so that on Thursday 20th February, when the order was received, the team were able to divert resources, including labour, plant, equipment and materials, from other projects immediately.


  • Manpower – mobilised and prepared

Medical Gases’ forward planning meant that 40 members of the team were immediately on the project. To complete the project Medical Gases’ labour manager arranged over 50 operatives on site. A further five project managers, four supervisors, two directors, a labour manager, a logistics manager and a support team of people in the office, in the factory and making deliveries were involved.

The logistics involved in achieving this included ensuring those on site had to be put through the necessary induction sessions, provided with access passes and PPE, found accommodation etc. All this was achieved in just three weeks.

To ensure as few delays as possible in getting the people and resources required on site, everyone involved in the project was issued with a document to present to police etc. as required, identifying them as carrying out essential work.


  • Working together

The delivery of Dragon’s Heart Hospital highlighted the value of the excellent working relationships Medical Gases has worked hard to build and maintain during its Thirty Severn years in the business:

Predictably, securing the necessary supplies during the Covid-19 shutdown was challenging and Medical Gases’ relationships with suppliers were paramount. Medical equipment manufacturer Precision UK in Stockport, whilst working under extreme pressure supplying the majority of the coronavirus emergency hospitals, still managed to manufacture the necessary medical equipment and provide the pipework, without which Medical Gases would not have been able to complete the project.

In the same way that Medical Gases has invested in building relations with suppliers, it has worked hard at developing its relations and reputation with the companies it works for. Which is how main contractor, N G Bailey approached Medical Gases for Dragon’s Heart.

Appreciating the need to properly look after those working on site delivering the contract, N G Bailey organised the re-opening of hotels to accommodate workers, arranging a room only service to stay within the shutdown guidance. They also arranged a free of charge temporary kitchen and dining room open from 7am to 2am on site, providing food and drink for workers 19 hours per day.

dragon heart covid19
dragon heart covid 19

Knowledge and commitment

Few, if any, other companies could have achieved what Medical Gases has at the Principality Stadium. Being able to mobilise such a knowledgeable, committed team in such a short time is only possible when you have the longevity and scale inspire the loyalty that Medical Gases does. The company has worked hard over the last Thirty Severn plus business, developing relationships and knowledge, which means it can respond quickly and effectively when a challenge such as this presents itself.

Both onsite and offsite, the Medical Gases team pulled together to ensure the success of the project.

 For those on site, working under extreme pressure in terms of timing meant working fast and working long hours whilst maintaining Medical Gases standard of workmanship. One worker covered 47 000 steps in his shift, like most running around the site to get the job done. 12- 14 hour shifts meant staying away from home for three to four weeks continually, living in a hotel room where, for the safety of the hotel staff, there was no cleaning or room services.

“The commitment of the staff was a key factor. Everyone worked seven days a week. Everyone went the extra mile, whether that meant jumping in the car to deliver a part to Wales or anything else. I am so proud of my team and grateful to them. What they have achieved is incredible.”

Andrew Barrett, Managing Director


Maintaining Purity

Medical Gases is justly proud of delivering the Dragon’s Heart Hospital on schedule but as important as meeting the timing is ensuring the quality of the delivery. The project had to be signed off by the NHS Trust’s pharmacist, without which the facility is not fit for use, so all quality standards had to meet the pharmacist’s requirements. The project was signed off with no issues and exactly on time.


Medical Gases delivered this significant project at a speed not previously thought possible, and with no compromise on quality. It is a testament to all those involved. The Dragon’s Heart Hospital contract ran concurrently with a project to provide oxygen to the Royal London Hospital. We are immensely proud of all our staff, who have worked so hard to deliver, and showed their commitment in such challenging circumstances, and are grateful to the suppliers who went above and beyond to support them. Thank you all.