Nov 17th 2016

The walls are going up at Midland Met Hospital

IN 700 DAYS from now thousands of patients will be admitted and treated in the state-of-the-art Midland Met Hospital, which will serve Birmingham, Sandwell and the wider Black Country. The new hospital forms a centre-piece to the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan and will open in October 2018.  Local people can hardly miss the progress of the build as they pass by the Grove Lane site on a daily basis.

Chief Executive Toby Lewis of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust which will run the Midland Met – believes the building is only a small yet an important part of the whole service the Trust will deliver.  This is because most care provided by the Trust happens at home or in the community already, and will grow in the next two years.  The keys are handed over in 2018 to one of the most innovative healthcare designs in the country.

He explained: “The most important work we are doing is building teams to work within the new hospital, bringing together the best of what we do right now in Sandwell General and City Hospital.  But we are thrilled by the pace and precision of the work our construction partner is doing.  We are on time and on budget.  It is so important we get key details right.  The signage needs to work for everyone, from every background.  We want our neighbours in the local community to use the site, which is why we are constructing a community garden in the grounds.  And we are looking right now at the shops and other facilities within the Midland Met.  This project is about great care, but it is also a massive regeneration opportunity which we are working with others to make sure that we seize.”

Work on the build is continuing at a lightning pace as just last week the first walls went up in what will be one of the biggest emergency departments in Europe. Keen to capture the pace of change and record the history of the Midland Met site, local history enthusiasts, Roger Aston and Janet Binnell have been photographing the build on a three monthly basis, collecting historical information, present past and future.

Roger, a keen gardener unearthed two WW1 medals whilst digging in his garden. Curious to investigate the origins of these he set upon a historical venture which led him to Smethwick Heritage Centre where he met Jan. Researching there and with the help of publicity from the Express and Star newspaper, the medals were returned to a grandson of the soldier who they were awarded to (posthumously). It ignited a passion for unearthing the history of Smethwick.

Armature photographer, Roger, has roots in the NHS having worked as a theatre & plaster technician at City Hospital (former Dudley Road Hospital) and an ambulance man, he sees the advantages the MMH will bring, not only from the hospitals growth, health care, many benefits to the local area, community, employment and business opportunities.

“We started the project in January this year – I’m the photographer and Jan the historian – we photograph the MMH every three months recording the progress of the build and have begun writing a book charting the development of Smethwick (Smedeuche) from around 500AD Anglo-Saxon (the beginning of Smethwick), through the journey of evolution to the present day 21st century, Midland Metropolitan Hospital.”

Janet (Smethwickian) born and bred added: “From early childhood I’ve been enthralled by stories of Smethwick told to me by older relatives which were reinforced by my school education and watching historical programmes on TV.

“One of the things I am most excited about the Midland Met Hospital is the potential for it to revitalize a very downtrodden community and bring much needed employment into Smethwick.”

If anyone would like to contribute their memories or photographs of the Midland Met site on Grove Lane, please contact Roger by email on rogeraston49@gmail.com            

 Ends

Issued by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust. Telephone 0121 507 5303.


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