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His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, 10 June 1921 to 9 April 2021

Read about the arrangements following The Duke of Edinburgh’s death

Helping people maintain contact with their families and friends where routine visits have not been possible due to COVID-19 restrictions.

First published:
22 March 2021
Last updated:

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the health and social care sector in Wales over the past year, with care homes experiencing extremely difficult and challenging times for staff, residents and relatives.

Care homes across Wales worked hard to arrange indoor visits, and help people maintain contact with their families and friends where routine visits have not been possible due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Before Christmas 2020, the Welsh Government Health team required a solution that met Public Health Wales (PHW) guidelines to allow safe visits at Christmas and beyond. Expanding capacity within care homes would help to support risk-assessed visiting during the winter months, as some care providers have found it difficult to support socially-distanced visits due to a lack of visiting space.

The Welsh Government Corporate Procurement Services (CPS) worked with health colleagues to identify and procure a compliant solution that would allow for safe visitations at pilot care homes in Wales. They decided to install visitor pods as a safe and suitable route to help some of our most vulnerable safely spend valuable time with family and friends.

The £3 million pilot, which covers the procurement, installation and lease of up to 100 visiting pods, saw almost 80 units installed and ready to use before Christmas. A procurement of this value could typically take 4-6 months, however, CPS and the Health team had just weeks to source and deliver a solution.

CPS identified 2 suitable frameworks to access the services quickly and compliantly; The South East & Mid Wales Collaborative Construction Framework (SEWSCAP) and the Welsh Government Events and Communications Framework. CPS worked with the customer to secure 3 contracts in total for the supply of visitor pods across Wales, adapting the requirements and scope as guidance from PHW emerged.

A contract was let in time for visitor pods to be delivered to care homes for Christmas visiting. More contracts have been let since to provide visitor pods for more care homes, and to adapt to emerging PHW guidelines as we progress through the pandemic.

The arrival of these care home visiting pods will help some of our most vulnerable people safely spend valuable time with family and friends.

Further information

Please contact Lisa Thomas-Lewis in Corporate Procurement Services: Lisa.Thomas-lewis@gov.wales