Wales politics

£350m south Wales super-hospital plan given go-ahead

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Media captionVaughan Gething defended the delay in order to get the "right decision"

Plans for a new £350m hospital in south Wales have been given the go-ahead, 12 years after it was first proposed.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said the Specialist and Critical Care Centre near Cwmbran should open in 2022.

First proposed in 2004, the plans were put on hold in 2009 before being put back on the agenda a year later.

The new hospital, to be built at Llanfrechfa Grange, is part of a plan to modernise health services run by the Aneurin Bevan health board.

Mr Gething said the project had "strong support" locally and was a "positive step" in the drive to improve health care.

"I am confident that bringing together complex and more acute services on one hospital site will allow the local health board to secure a range of benefits which will improve the quality of care for patients," he said.

Existing acute services at the Royal Gwent and St Woolos hospitals in Newport, and Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny, are likely to see changes when the new hospital opens, the Welsh Government said.

The new centre would also be expected to play a strong regional role, working with major hospitals run by neighbouring health boards in south Wales.

Tina Donnelly, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales, said the union was "pleased to see action has started to make this a reality".

"We look forward to seeing this new hospital benefit patients throughout south Wales whilst also relieving pressure from surrounding NHS services," she added.

Analysis by Owain Clarke, BBC Wales health correspondent

The confirmation that this hospital will be built has been a long time coming.

It has been on the drawing board for so long, some feared it would never see the light of day.

But the hospital is a key part of plans to re-design how NHS services are delivered across south Wales.

So some more specialised services will be centralised in the new hospital, which will mean shifting them from two existing district general hospitals - the Royal Gwent and Nevill Hall.

The argument is that if specialist services such as A&E or children's care are spread too thinly, they are less safe.

It is also arguably easier to recruit doctors and fill rotas when these services are centralised on one site.

Similar arguments are being made in other parts of Wales but it is harder to convince people it is a good idea when there is no prospect of a brand new hospital being built.

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