The first publicly funded UK hospital to feature single rooms only has been opened on the site of a disused steelworks in Ebbw Vale, South Wales.
Named after a local MP credited with founding the NHS, the Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan has just 107 beds in en-suite rooms and is the new general hospital for the county borough of Blaenau Gwent.
During the most recent question time in the Welsh Assembly, first minister Carwyn Jones reiterated the Labour-Plaid Cymru administration’s policy of ending the use of the private sector in the NHS by the time of the May elections next year.
Tory opposition leader Nick Bourne argued, however, that the decision to ban the use of private finance initiatives within the health service was “ideological”.
Health minister Edwina Hart said: “This is a significant milestone in improving access to healthcare in the South Wales Valleys.
“It is fitting that given Blaenau Gwent’s historic link with the NHS that its new hospital will be named after its founder, Aneurin Bevan.
“This new facility will greatly improve access to planned and emergency healthcare close to people’s homes.
“Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan is the first of a new generation of hospitals in Wales to have single en-suite rooms for patients, which will help aid recovery, improve privacy and reduce the risk of infections.
“It will bring a range of services under one roof, such as outpatient treatment, diagnostics, maternity services, and minor injuries and out-of-hours GP services.”