THE Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, chose Rowley Regis Hospital to announce his approval of the long-awaited £353 million hospital in Smethwick.

The 670 bed Midland Metropolitan Hospital, which has been on the drawing board for over a decade, will be funded by both the public and private sector through a Private Finance 2 deal.

Yesterday (Monday) the Chancellor visited Rowley Regis Hospital, part of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, where he met with senior executives to hear how they are moving care closer to the community.

The Chancellor 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.”

And the Chancellor congratulated staff at Rowley Regis Hospital, he said: "Four years ago this hospital was facing the closure of its wards.

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

Richard Samuda, chairman of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals commented: “This is a vote of confidence in 7,500 staff at the Trust.

"The Chancellor’s announcement at Rowley Regis Hospital reinforces our strategy of local care for long term conditions and a single specialist acute centre at the Midland Met.”

SWBH 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.”

The new super-hospital will replace services currently provided at Sandwell Hospital in West Bromwich and City Hospital in Winson Green.

Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris accompanied Mr Osborne to Rowley Regis Hospital.

He said: "I was delighted to invite George Osborne to Rowley Regis Hospital, built by the last Conservative Government, to announce this new state-of-the-art hospital.

"As well as offering a great new hospital for people across Sandwell, this announcement further safeguards the future of Rowley Regis a Hospital, which is providing a greater range of top-class services right here in our community.

"Two new wards and a treatment centre have opened at Rowley Regis since the General Election and now 27 new clinics are moving here."

Construction of the new hospital is expected to commence in 2016 and be completed by 2018-19.