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School of Healthcare Sciences

The School of Healthcare Sciences will be located on a single site for the first time since its inception, with the development of a former auxiliary hospital adjacent to the University Hospital of Wales.

The School is currently split across two sites, with teaching and simulation facilities located both in Ty Dewi Sant on the UHW site and in EastGate House in the city centre. The School will co-locate to one campus in 2023, after a comprehensive refurbishment of what was most recently the Department of Work and Pensions building in Heath Park West.

Heath Park West simulated hospital ward

The site was purchased by the University in 2018 for the purpose of creating bespoke teaching facilities for healthcare programmes that adjoin the UK’s second largest teaching hospital. The redevelopment will provide increased space for teaching and immersive simulated educational spaces on a much larger scale; Ty Dewi Sant will then be subsequently reconfigured with a focus on computer lab spaces and offices for staff.

The Heath Park West project will ensure that the school is providing the best possible environment for rapidly growing numbers of students. This expansion in student numbers is due in part to Welsh Government’s ‘A healthier Wales’ strategy and also a result of increased interest in healthcare professions following the spotlight of the pandemic. It’s considered likely that nursing commissions will continue to rise in line with NHS pandemic recovery plans.

The designs for the re-imagined building also reflect the recently awarded contract with commissioning body Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) which, in line with new requirements set by regulatory bodies, requires a greater focus on interprofessional learning and immersive simulation.

Simulation-based education

Simulation-based education allows students to practise and develop their professional and clinical skills, including decision-making, critical thinking and problem solving, in immersive, real-life situational experiences without compromising patient safety. It enhances students’ learning by helping to build confidence and transfer theory to practice. It exposes students to a range of different learning experiences in safe and controlled simulated environments, from basic life support to rare emergency situations.

Heath Park West tutorial

Simulation-based education at Cardiff University spans the breadth of what’s possible, bringing together students from the different professions to work in realistic virtual environments with patient simulators, real-life equipment and devices, and immersive technologies including augmented and virtual reality. The new building in Heath Park West will provide a bespoke facility as we expand this activity even further, ensuring our students develop both the clinical and non-technical skills required to become highly trained, competent and caring healthcare professionals.

Design and layout

Designs for Heath Park West, which dates from the post war era of the mid-20th century, are sympathetic to the building’s age. The design features a stylised contemporary industrial aesthetic, informed by a biophilic design approach. Biophilic design uses natural resources to create a sense of harmony between architecture and the natural world; the aim is to use greenery, fresh air, natural organic patterns and shapes, natural materials, views of nature and naturally lit spaces to increase wellbeing and lower stress levels.

Heath Park West common room

The redevelopment will include:

  • an increased number of practical rooms for the development and assessment of physical skills
  • a flat and daily living suite, including a garden space
  • an increased number of communication booths
  • a refurbished version of the Caerleon Simulation Suite, a realistic hospital ward setting
  • enhanced student common areas.

In brief

  • cost: £21.943m
  • architect: Austin-Smith:Lord
  • due to be completed: summer 2023.