THE Chancellor George Osborne has given the go-ahead for the long-awaited super hospital in Sandwell.
The £400m 670 bed hospital in Smethwick was the only NHS infrastructure scheme in the statement and has been welcomed by politicians across the board.
Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris said: “This is great news for Sandwell and I hope that the NHS Trust can complete discussions with the Department for Health as quickly as possible so that work can begin.
“Not only would local people get a new modern hospital to replace the outdated buildings that house the current Sandwell General Hospital, but the regeneration projects that this would make possible would help to generate new jobs for people across the Black Country and Birmingham."
He added: “The new hospital would further secure Rowley Regis Hospital, which has attracted significant new investment over the past two years, with Rowley Regis offering vital rehabilitative care in a community setting, complementing the acute and emergency services available at the new hospital in Smethwick.
“Local doctors and health authorities have been calling for this new hospital for years and I am delighted to have been able to help.”
Sandwell Council leader Councillor Darren Cooper said: “The Midland Metropolitan Hospital will be a big plus, offering local people first class healthcare and creating lots of jobs, including ones in the hard-pressed building industry.
He added: ” However, why has it taken so long for the Chancellor to give the scheme the go ahead?
“The plans were ready to go a long time ago and we could have been a lot further down the road than we are, boosting the local economy now rather than in several year’s time.”
A spokesman for Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust said: “This brings us one step closer to achieving our goal of providing the highest quality healthcare from 21st century facilities for people living in Sandwell and western Birmingham.
“We anticipate that it will take six months to refresh our plans in the light of the latest developments. Following approval procedures, the procurement, building and commissioning phases of the scheme will then take up to five years to complete.”
The Autumn Statement also included a two per cent cut in the local government budget in 2014.
Sandwell finance supremo Cllr Steve Elling said: “My main aim now is to try and ensure Sandwell Council is the last authority standing as all those around us go bankrupt.”