Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, is expected to give formal approval to the £420 million modernisation of the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton this week.
Mr Lansley’s approval will mean public funds are released for the first phase of the ten-year project.
The money will fund the decant of staff and equipment from some of the older buildings mainly to the old St Mary’s Hall School buildings near by. Most of the staff moving will be admin and support staff.
Mr Lansley’s approval will leave just one final financial hurdle – approval by the Treasury. This is anticipated in the autumn.
The project – known as the 3Ts project – involves replacing some of the oldest NHS hospital buildings in the country.
The update was given at a board meeting of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Duncan Selbie, the outgoing chief excutive, said: “I am expecting the Secretary of State to give approval to the outline business case for the 3Ts this week.”
Mr Selbie gave the update at his final board meeting before he leaves to head a new organisation, Public Health England.
Trust chairman Julian Lee thanked him for his contribution over the previous five years and said that Russell Reynolds, the headhunters, had been appointed to find a replacement.
Finance director Chris Adcock will take over as acting chief executive in the coming month and is expected to hold the fort at least until the end of the year.
Non-executive director Julie Nerney has been appointed deputy chairman and senior independent director. The role gives her extra responsibilities but no extra pay.
Mr Selbie spelt out some of the risks and challenges faced by his board colleagues and his successor.
He said that when he joined, the board was focused on coping with the financial and practical consequences of an earlier reorganisation. This had meant bringing down debt.
But Mr Selbie said that external perceptions then had appeared to be: “You’ll get an infection and you can’t park.
“The greatest risk going forward is that we have less money coming in and more going on.”
Mr Selbie said that this was not just a case of more people coming through the door.
He said: “We’re building capacity and that’s not just the physical infrastructure. It’s about becoming a teaching hospital and putting in place the staffing to support that.”
These big and complex changes brought risks but he said that he was confident that the the board and staff would rise to the challenges that they faced.
The hospital trust’s finances were in better shape and hospital-acquired infection rates were much improved.
He said that there was no complacency and that senior clinical staff were relentlessly looking at ways to improve even further.
And Sherree Fagge, chief nurse, reported improved satisfaction with nursing after the latest patient survey.