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Smethwick super hospital on way at last as Chancellor George Osborne agrees to £353m scheme

Birmingham | News | Published:

[gallery] George Osborne today gave the green light to a long-awaited £353 million 'super hospital' for the Black Country.

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

The 670-bed acute Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Grove Lane, Smethwick, has been on the cards for a decade but has been hit by delays amid a shake-up of the controversial private finance initiative, which funds new buildings but mounts up debts over many years.

The hospital is due to take up 16 acres on Grove Lane but a further 31 acres of land between Grove Lane, Cranford Street, Heath Street and Dugdale Street is to be transformed and filled with other employment opportunities and housing schemes.

Rowley Regis Hospital, which is in the Tory marginal seat of Halesowen and Rowley Regis, will see its role in providing non-acute, community-based care expanded.

Today it was announced that the Treasury is providing £100m to the scheme, with the rest raised from private investment.

The area's MP James Morris wrote to the Chancellor in 2012 asking for the Treasury to back the new hospital.

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.

"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."

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The site of the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital, Smethwick, where the area is being cleared for development.

Rowley Regis Hospital, which is in the Tory marginal seat of Halesowen and Rowley Regis, will see its role in providing non-acute, community based care expanded.

The area's MP James Morris wrote to the Chancellor in 2012 asking for the Treasury to back the new hospital.

Mr Osborne continued: "Midland Metropolitan Hospital will have state-of-the-art surgical theatres. We will invest in hospitals like Rowley Regis here.

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"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."

The Chancellor said the announcement showed a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of Rowley Regis Hospital, which had previously been under threat but will now see its role in providing community-based care increased.

"Four years ago this hospital was facing the closure of its wards," the Chancellor said.

"Now we have wards open and staff are really excited about the future for this hospital."

The Chancellor's announcement came as celebrations were well under way for Black Country Day, which Mr Osborne praised as 'great'.

Chief executive Toby Lewis added: "This is a decisive moment for healthcare in the West Midlands. We welcome the determination of the Chancellor to support the regeneration of Smethwick with this vital project for patients."

See also: £370m Midland super hospital will transform healthcare

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