The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt visited the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton this afternoon (Thursday 3 July).
His visit comes two months after the government approved the £420 million modernisation of the Royal Sussex.
Mr Hunt was given a tour of the site including the Barry building which pre-dates the reign of Queen Victoria and the career of Florence Nightingale.
He was also shown the £36 million Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital which opened seven years ago.
Mr Hunt said: “This redevelopment is good news for patients, not only in Brighton and Hove but across Sussex and the south east.
“It will represent a far better environment for patients and staff and make it easier to deliver the best and safest care.”
Matthew Kershaw, chief executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Secretary for State to the hospital today.
“By contrasting the oldest and newest buildings on site we were able to show him many of the issues the redevelopment will address and the scale of the improvements our patients can look forward to once it is completed.”
The project is known as the 3Ts redevelopment, which stands for teaching, trauma and tertiary care. The outline business case for the project was approved on Thursday 1 May.
The redevelopment will replace the buildings on the front half of the main Eastern Road site, including the hospital’s oldest buildings.
It will mean new wards for elderly care and general medicine and new buildings and equipment for trauma, intensive care and cancer patients and people with head injuries and those needing neurological treatment.
Over the next 15 months temporary buildings will go up on the site to house clinical services currently in the planned construction area.
Work on the first of the two new buildings is due to start in the autumn next year.
Mr Hunt said: “It was great to be able to come to Brighton today to visit the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
“Having spoken to some of the dedicated hardworking staff, I know just what a difference the £420 million government investment will make in improving facilities for patients and staff alike.
“Brighton is lucky to have such a strong vocal champion in Parliament.
“Simon pursued this funding relentlessly with myself, the Chancellor and the Prime Minister and left us all in no doubt as to just how important it was for his constituents.
“This investment is a clear signal of the government’s commitment to the NHS here in Brighton.
“It is regrettable that the Labour Party has tried to play party politics with this important issue, particularly as funding for this project was never approved under the last government.”
Mr Kirby said: “Having campaigned so long for this funding I was pleased to be able to show the Health Secretary around the hospital so he could see at first hand just what a difference this investment will make and the outdated facilities the excellent staff at the hospital have to contend with at the moment.”