A MULTI-MILLION pound care centre for elderly people with dementia has been officially launched in Swansea.
Work on the £18.5 million Ysbryd y Coed unit at the city's Cefn Coed Hospital began in August 2010.
The 60-bed centre has been caring for patients since May this year and is now close to capacity according to Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (ABM) University Health Board chairman Win Griffiths.
The chairman yesterday joined Welsh Government Health Minister Lesley Griffiths in launching the centre which is split into three wards.
The minister was given a tour of Ysbyrd y Coed and said: "It is my pleasure to be here and to be invited to formally open this unit.
"It has been fantastic to have a look around.
"Mental health is a huge priority for the Welsh Government.
"We know incidence of dementia is increasing.
"It is now that we need to prepare our services and our facilities for the incidence that is increasing.
"It is not just about bricks and mortar. The jewel in the crown for the NHS is our staff.
"We need buildings, but it is the staff that really count.
"It is very clear we have a wonderful, dedicated and committed team of staff here."
Construction of the unit was carried out by Cwmbwrla based firm Interserve Construction which ensured 80 per cent of the workforce involved were from areas within 25 miles of the scheme.
At its peak around 200 construction staff were on site at any one time.
Mr Griffiths said: "When you see the buildings which the staff have moved from you get a fillip just to walk into this building.
"We know unfortunately dementia is increasing.
"It is good to think we are surviving longer but unfortunately quite a number of people have dementia problems.
"Work like this is going to be needed in the future unless someone can produce a wonder drug or therapy which stops nerves from dying."
Ysbryd y Coed has 40 beds for women and 20 for men.