A MUCH-needed cash boost to fund the reorganisation of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals has been confirmed.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England boss Simon Stevens have confirmed £29m of investment into the Worcestershire Royal and Alexandra Hospitals as part of wider £325m for local projects to support the NHS.

Last week the Worcester News reported that the three county clinical commissioning groups, which hold the purse string of NHS care, unanimously approved a new clinical model.

Thousands had objected to the proposals in the consultation period, including a particularly controversial plan to move all hospital births from the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

All the governing bodies representatives approved the plan, but it still required £29 million of government funding to implement.

The Department of Health has now confirmed that this money will be made available which, after a final rubber stamping internally in the NHS, will then allow the reorganisation to go ahead.

A spokesperson for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: "We are delighted with today’s announcement which gives us the necessary capital investment to provide more beds, increase car parking and improve facilities at the county’s hospitals.

"These improvements are needed in order to implement the clinical model.

"Plans for Worcestershire Royal Hospital include the partial refurbishment of Aconbury East to create 81 additional beds in three modern ward areas, increased paediatric and obstetric capacity, a high dependency Unit and 141 new car parking spaces.

“At the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch plans include the refurbishment and modernisation of operating theatres and improvements to endoscopy facilities.

“These plans form part of an Outline Business Case which now needs to be approved by NHSI.

"We hope to have a final decision on this later in the summer.

“Subject to the necessary approvals being received, an implementation plan is in place to deliver these improvements by May 2020.”

Worcester MP Robin Walker said: "This is an extremely welcome announcement and the result of years’ worth of campaigning by myself and the other Worcestershire MPs.

"Together we have continually pressed Ministers on the urgent need for funding in the county’s hospitals, and today our call has been heard.

"I always said Worcestershire Royal Hospital has had added pressure, so this funding is crucial.

"It is what I have always pushed for - it will really help hospitals across the county."

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said: "We have all known that the Worcestershire Royal has been under huge pressures and badly needs significant investment to improve its capacity and improve the way it deal with urgent patients.

“Once the GP commissioners signed off the re-organisation plan, the bid was ready to be submitted, with our full backing.

“I am pleased the Department has worked so quickly to get this project approved.

“We all want to see the best possible health service when we need it most and I hope that local people will see how hard we are all trying to give the staff the best possible facilities to keep doing a great job.”