Health chiefs are hoping for an early Christmas present which will allow them to sign up a main contractor to restart work on the much-delayed Midland Metropolitan Hospital.
Toby Lewis, chief executive of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, spoke of his hope the government will finalise a multi-million pound procurement process as workers make interim repairs and weather-proof the Smethwick site.
In the new year the trust will call for bidders to complete the 670 bed acute medical centre which came to a grinding halt in January when the construction giant, Carillion, went bust.
He was joined by local MP John Spellar to see the progress made since the government promised £300 million to get the stalled hospital back on track.
Mr Lewis said: “The Christmas present we are waiting for is one final paragraph on one final letter that will allow us to go out for the procurement of a final contractor.”
“What we have now is the winter contractor who are making the site weatherproof.”
When completed in 2022 the hospital will be a centre and work place for half the trust’s 6,000 employees and its A&E only will treat 170,000 patients a year.
The existing City and Sandwell General Hospitals will remain open but their emergency departments will transfer to the new site.
Mr Spellar, Labour MP for Warley, commented: “I am delighted to see work starting again on the site of this long awaited and much needed project. Toby Lewis and his team have worked tirelessly to bring this about.
“The people of Sandwell and West Birmingham have waited too long for this hospital and I have urged the management and government to get this completed as soon as possible.”