Mayor calls on Health Secretary to act on delayed Midland Metropolitan Hospital
The West Midlands mayor says he has held a series of one-on-one meetings with the Health Secretary in a bid to finally get work re-started on the £475m Midland Metropolitan Hospital.
Health chiefs hope long-awaited approval will come from the Government later this month, amid warnings any further delays could threaten the planned summer 2022 opening date.
Andy Street has now become directly involved in lobbying Health Secretary Matt Hancock to get the project moving again. The Midland Met is no closer to being completed from when Carillion collapsed in January 2018. It is around two-thirds built on Grove Lane, Smethwick, and Balfour Beatty is waiting for the green light from Whitehall to pick up the job.
The continued delays have caused frustration for Sandwell NHS trust chief executive Toby Lewis and politicians in the region.
And Mr Street said: “It is absolutely vital that work on the Midland Met hospital site resumes as soon as possible, and I am doing everything in my power to make that happen.
“Not only will the hospital be an upgrade on the existing Sandwell General and Birmingham City hospital sites, helping to improve healthcare across the West Midlands, but it will also pave the way for significant regeneration of the Smethwick area.
“I have made these points personally to Matt Hancock on several occasions and stressed just how important this site is to our region. I am confident that the message has been received loud and clear.
“I have of course not been alone in my lobbying with local MPs making a similar case, while I also feel Toby Lewis deserves enormous praise for his tireless pursuit of making sure this hospital gets built in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2022.”
Last week Warley MP John Spellar this week called on the Government to "get out the file, get it signed and get this project moving" in a further sign of mounting anger over the delays.
In response, health minister Edward Agar offered to hold a meeting with trust bosses and said he was "keen to get things moving" but did not confirm whether approval was close.