Black Country 'super hospital' plan approved

Chancellor gives green light to long-awaited plans for £353m acute hospital in Smethwick

George Osborne has given the thumbs-up to plans for a new £353m super hospital in the Black Country.

The announcement came as the Chancellor visited Rowley Regis Hospital, part of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.

Proposals for the 670-bed Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Grove Lane, Smethwick, were first mooted more than 10 years ago, but the scheme has been hit by delays amid a shake-up of the controversial PFI funding model.

The new super hospital will replace service at Sandwell Hospital in West Bromwich and City Hospital in Winson Green.

A shake-up of health services in the area will also see the role of Rowley Regis Hospital, which had previously been under threat of closure, expanded.

The hospital is going to be a fantastic addition to the community and will meet needs for decades to come

As part of the new plan, the hospital will be built on a 16-acre site in Grove Lane, with a further 31 acres of land to be used for commercial and residential development.

Osborne announced that the Treasury would be providing £100m to the scheme, with the rest of the funding raised from private investment.

He said: “This ambitious package will ensure that patients across the West Midlands continue to benefit from access to world-class acute treatment and cutting-edge facilities.

“It is because of the difficult decisions we have taken as a Government that we have been able to protect healthcare spending and announce new facilities like the Midland Metropolitan Hospital.”

The shake-up of health services in the area will also see the role of Rowley Regis Hospital, which had previously been under threat of closure, expanded.

“This is proof that we are committed to the NHS and that we have a long-term economic plan which makes investment like this possible,” said Osborne.

This is proof that we are committed to the NHS and that we have a long-term economic plan which makes investment like this possible

“The hospital is going to be a fantastic addition to the community and will meet needs for decades to come.”

Construction work on the project is expected to start in early 2016.

Toby Lewis, chief executive of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The great benefit for local patients of the proposed Midland Metropolitan Hospital is that it concentrates acute specialist care.

“This means that scarce, highly-skilled clinicians will be available to look after the sickest patients more quickly, seven days a week, day and night.

“That is what we believe is needed, as soon as possible, for the half a million people who need our care. This can only be achieved with one major emergency department, supported by local urgent care centres.”

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