Midland Metropolitan Hospital PFI plans approved

The Midland Metropolitan Hospital will be built on this land in Smethwick

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A £353m hospital is to be built in the West Midlands.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced approval for the 670-bed Midland Metropolitan Hospital to be built on land in Smethwick.

The building will be funded by both the public and private sector through a private finance deal, he said.

It will replace large parts of Sandwell Hospital and City Hospital in Winson Green, although some services will remain, NHS managers have said.

Mr Osborne 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."

Artists impression of Midland Metropolitan Hospital The new hospital is earmarked for land off Grove Lane in Smethwick

Construction work on the hospital is expected to begin on a site at Grove Lane in Smethwick in 2016 and finish in 2019.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust said it had begun the process of looking for a construction partner to build it as part of the governments revised private finance initiative (PFI) scheme.

Under PFI 2 guidelines the taxpayer takes a share of up to 49% in new projects with the rest coming from private investors.

The Trust said £100m of public money would be used to build the new hospital.

Chief Executive Toby Lewis said: "Our commitment... is to develop more community-based services at our sites in Rowley Regis, at Leasowes and on Dudley Road, and to refurbish Sandwell Hospital to ensure high quality outpatient and intermediate care in West Bromwich."

City Hospital in Birmingham The A and E department at City Hospital in Birmingham is to close

Overall bed numbers in the hospital will be reduced by around 75, but extra beads will be made available in the community to make up the difference.

The £35m Birmingham Treatment Centre built in 2005 on the City Hospital site would also stay, but accident and emergency departments at both City and Sandwell hospitals would close, he said.

Ray Salmon, from the Unison union, said: "We are pleased this has been given the go ahead because we don't feel the City Hospital is fit for purpose for staff.

"We are not worried about the closure of the A and E department because the distance from where it is now will be offset by the better facilities."

Sandwell Council leader, Darren Cooper said: "I think the new hospital will serve both Sandwell and west Birmingham well.

"This is a massive investment for Smethwick and this will be the catalyst for the total regeneration of Cape Hill in particular."

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