Musgrove Park Hospital's £34m building ready mid-March

Jubilee Building, Musgrove Park Hospital
Image caption Hospital bosses said there had been a "pressing need to modernise"

A £34m building for surgical inpatients at Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital will be open by mid-March.

Wards with 112 single rooms and new surgical units will replace open plan "Nightingale" wards that have been in use since World War Two.

Hospital bosses were given the keys to the Jubilee Building on Thursday.

They are now fitting out the wards, which are designed to make the most of natural light and provide patients with views of outside.

Initially the building will have 96 beds, replacing 96 that will close in the Old Building, but there is space for 112 beds if needed.

The Old Building was meant to be a temporary hospital for US soldiers, but has remained in use.

Image caption The hospital is now fitting out the wards

Ros Wyke, chair of Musgrove Park Hospital, said the old style 'Nightingale wards' are no longer viable options for modern healthcare.

"Nowadays most people would find being in a ward with a large number of people quite difficult and quite distracting," she said.

"There are obviously privacy and dignity issues and also infection control from the hospitals point of view."

The hospital's website states that a third of its clinical services have been based in buildings over 65 years old, including its surgical facilities.

Because of this, it said there was a "pressing need to modernise".

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