Pounds 641m to Cure Hospitals

Article excerpt

Byline: Jenny Hudson

Birmingham's new superhospital received the go-ahead yesterday as part of a pounds 3billion NHS development programme.

The pounds 290 million facility was the largest in the latest phase of projects which are planned for completion by 2008.

The Government's decision to approve the scheme paves the way for the demolition of three city hospitals and ends years of uncertainty over the future of healthcare in Birmingham.

As part of the massive injection of cash announced by the Prime Minister and Health Secretary Alan Milburn yesterday, hospitals across the West Midlands will receive pounds 641million to replace dilapidated buildings with modern facilities.

It is likely most of the programmes will be paid for under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), but the Government hinted some Treasury capital may also be made available.

In North Staffordshire, a new pounds 200 million hospital will replace the City General and Royal Infirmary, New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton will receive pounds 110 million for a major building programme and Walsall Manor Hospital was awarded pounds 40 million for improvements.

In addition, three new ambulatory care centres - or, according to Mr Blair, 'hospitals of the future' - each costing about pounds 10 million will be built at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, Kidderminster Hospital in Worcestershire and in Dudley.

The Government had already given approval for a similar new facility costing pounds 22 million to be sited at the City Hospital in Birmingham. The fast track centres will specialise in non-urgent surgery such as hip replacements and cataract operations.

Birmingham's superhospital will replace the ageing Selly Oak and Queen Elizabeth hospitals and the Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital. …