24th November 2015
George Osborne to pledge funding for new 670-bed superhospital
George Osborne will put the planned new 670-bed hospital in Smethwick, in the Black Country, at the heart of his Spending Review statement. He will announce more than £500 million for hospitals in Smethwick, Cambridge and Brighton, as he reveals a £10 billion boost in NHS funding.
The health service will receive an additional £10 billion a year above inflation by 2020, with £6 billion coming in the first year of the Spending Review, the Government has decided.
It will allow the NHS to offer 800,000 more operations and treatments, 2 million more diagnostic tests, 5.5 million more outpatient appointments and to spend up to £2 billion more on new drugs that patients need, the Government says.
The new Midland Metropolitan Hospital on Grove Lane, Smethwick, will feature 670 beds and 150 operating theatres, providing services currently based at City Hospital in Birmingham (previously known as Dudley Road Hospital), and Sandwell Hospital. It received planning permission in September.
Emergency and acute services and surgical procedures will all be carried out at the new site – serving a population of 500,000 – when it opens in late 2018.
City and Sandwell hospitals will continue to run outpatient services, intermediate care facilities and planned surgery, while the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre will remain on Dudley Road.
Health managers at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust say that centralising most services in one site will provide better care than stretching them across two hospitals as happens now.
The Trust says the new hospital has a number of important design features. For example, all bathrooms in ward environments will be fully wheelchair accessible. Half of the beds in the building will be in single rooms.
The building also makes extensive use of robots to move non-clinical equipment and services.
Mr Osborne will deliver the statement to the Commons on Wednesday, November 25. He said: “We promised the British people that their priority was our priority, and we would fund our National Health Service. “You can only have a strong NHS if you have a strong economy and it’s only because we have taken the difficult decisions needed to cut the deficit and are delivering economic security that we are able to commit an additional £10 billion a year by 2020 to the NHS.
“We will deliver £6 billion a year extra investment straight away, as those in charge of the NHS have requested. This means I am providing the health department with a half a trillion pound settlement - the biggest ever commitment to the NHS since its creation.
“This will mean world-class treatment for millions more patients, deliver a truly 7-day health service and allow the NHS to implement its five-year plan to transform the services patients receive.”
Under the Chancellor’s plans, the Department of Health will receive £4.8 billion in capital funding in every year of the Spending Review.
There will be up to £300 million more spent on cancer diagnostics every year by 2020/21, so anyone with suspected cancer will be diagnosed within a maximum of 28 days of being referred by a GP, which experts say could help save 11,000 lives a year.
Selling surplus estates will generate a further £2 billion for reinvestment in the health service, while releasing land for 26,000 new homes, according to the Government.
But Ministers are determined to press ahead with plans for a “seven day NHS” - even though the current proposals have provoked junior doctors to vote for strike action.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We are passionate about building an NHS that offers the safest, highest quality care anywhere in the world - with services smoothly operating 7 days a week.”