Work restarts on Smethwick super-hospital after two-year delay
Work has restarted on the newly named Midland Metropolitan University Hospital.
The change of name for the Smethwick hospital acknowledges Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust's partnership with education providers across the region.
It includes collaborations with Birmingham University, Aston University, Wolverhampton University and Birmingham City University.
The new name was confirmed today during an event held at the site, in Grove Lane, which marked the restarting of work by Balfour Beatty on the multi-million pound site.
WATCH: Drone footage shows super-hospital site
It comes more than two years after the collapse of Carillion in January 2018 left work on the super hospital at a standstill. The hospital had been due to open its doors to patients in 2018.
The "super-hospital" is currently scheduled to open in summer 2022, to coincide with the Commonwealth Games.
Toby Lewis, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust's chief executive, said: "We are thrilled that today we have got construction back on the site of Midland Metropolitan, ready to open in 2022.
GALLERY: Pictures show inside hospital building site
"We are also delighted that we are welcoming a change of name for the new hospital, the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital, a project jointly with Aston University, Birmingham University and other universities.
"It really is about bringing education right into the heart of healthcare in Sandwell and West Birmingham.
"The new name recognises the abiding excellence of our work with Birmingham University, and our nursing collaborations with Wolverhampton and with Birmingham City. It also commemorates this year’s start of clinical placements within Aston Medical School, for which the trust is the largest party."
It will now cost £988 million to build and run the hospital – £300m more than originally expected, it was recently revealed.
The cost of building the hospital, in Grove Lane, has almost doubled from £350m to £663m.
The Midland Met is set to transform healthcare in Sandwell and Birmingham, and result in both Sandwell and City hospitals being scaled down. The facility will deliver acute and emergency services currently provided at Sandwell and City hospitals.
Mr Lewis added: "We are thrilled that today we have got construction back on the site for the Midland Metropolitan, ready to open in 2022. Recommencing building work on the Midland Met is really important.
"The re-start brings jobs back to our community and signals the work to ensure that suppliers, shops and other businesses can begin to plan for their role in our future.
"We are delighted that both local authorities are committed to work on local regeneration as we look to ensure that this investment is more than a hospital.
"The guys have been working since before Christmas but today is the first opportunity to celebrate the restarting of the work and we really are expecting to be open now by summer 2022, before the Commonwealth Games.
"There is no reason to expect a delay – Balfour Beatty, Engie, our commercial partners are strong, stable partners – what is really important now I think for local people is lets get the builders get on with what they get on with.
"We need to make sure we are ready, ready for open day. So we need to make the changes in clinical practice and how we work, recruit staff to make sure the opening of the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital in 2022 a massive success.
"In a sense, people have waited long enough than they should have done – we need to make it even better than it would have been."
Dr David Carruthers, medical director, said: "Not only does a single site for acute care help clinicians to deliver better outcomes for our patients, but the design of the hospital has been carefully thought through to enhance what we do.
"Half of the bed spaces are in single rooms. There are indoor and outdoor amenity and exercise spaces. Facilities like our art gallery, gardens, and meeting spaces will support us to learn and to reflect.
"We have all waited a very long time for the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital and my colleagues are truly excited for what this transformation will mean for the local NHS.”
Sarb Clare, a consultant in acute medicine at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, said: "I am absolutely delighted. We are hopeful and we have done a lot of planning already to moving in, this is the icing on the cake. The teams are recharged to get back and start plans to move in.
"It is a regeneration project. It is not just a hospital, it is more than that. It reflects regeneration of the area, jobs, and aspiration for the local children. It is a real beacon of hope for the local community. We know that this area is one of the most deprived in the country so it really does deserve this investment."
Nick Makwana, consultant paediatrician, added: "I am feeling quite emotional about the hospital now, I started my first ever medical job at Dudley Road Hospital and coming through this whole journey, and being there when we move into a new hospital in two years makes me feel excited, emotional, grateful for all the work that has gone into it and really positive about the future."