New opening date for Black Country's 'super hospital' after years of delays

The Black Country's new "super hospital" will open in 2024, health chiefs have announced.

The Midland Metropolitan University Hospital is being built in Smethwick
The Midland Metropolitan University Hospital is being built in Smethwick

The Midland Metropolitan University Hospital (MMUH), in Smethwick, had originally been due to open back in 2018 but the project has been hit by a string of delays.

The original date was delayed by the collapse of Wolverhampton-based firm Carillion. Balfour Beatty then took over the project but bosses say work has been affected by the pandemic.

The new hospital brings together emergency and acute services at Sandwell General Hospital and City Hospital into a single, fit for purpose healthcare facility, operated by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.

Health bosses say it will significantly improve clinical care and people’s experiences of healthcare services, as well as providing regeneration opportunities for the local area.

The trust and Balfour Beatty, which has been working on the building since 2019, are now being assisted by the new hospital programme team, which has worked with Balfour Beatty to reset the programme and complete new commercial arrangements.

It means that the new hospital will open in spring 2024.

Trust chairman, Sir David Nicholson, said: “I am delighted that we have reached this stage in the development and are able to confirm with confidence that we will open as soon as possible following completed construction of the building, which will be handed over to the trust before the end of 2023.

“Balfour Beatty and the trust teams have together been determined to progress the building work over the past two years and it is excellent to see just how many of the departments and clinical areas are nearing completion, to a very high standard.

“We are grateful to the new hospital programme team for their support in ensuring we have the resources and expert advice to complete this new hospital, that will serve the Sandwell and West Birmingham populations for at least 50 years. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver a great facility and improve health outcomes with the added benefits of regeneration for our local communities.”

Mark Bullock, chief executive officer of Balfour Beatty’s UK Construction Services business, said: “We remain steadfast in our commitment to successfully completing this landmark project. Over the coming months, we will continue to work closely and collaboratively with Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust and the new hospital programme team, to deliver this long-awaited healthcare facility; one that will provide significant benefits for the local community for many generations to come.”

The new model of care will mean that outpatient clinics, day case surgery and routine diagnostics will be provided from the Sandwell and City Hospital sites.

Maternity services, emergency care, general surgery (not day case) and medical wards will all take place at MMUH.

As well as being a centre of excellence for clinical care and research, the new hospital is designed around a new therapeutic model of care, to encourage patients to maintain mobility and independence during a hospital stay.

The hospital also houses public areas including a winter garden and 80m-long art gallery that will be assets for the community.

It includes over 700 beds, 11 operating theatres, purpose-built emergency department with colocated diagnostics, 15 delivery rooms for maternity services, and a midwife-led birthing unit.

Half of the beds are in single ensuite rooms.

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