Construction work has begun on the £270m acute hospital for Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.
The contract between the Western Heath & Social Care Trust and the Northern Ireland Health Group consortium, which will build the facility, has finally been signed and work is scheduled to be completed by 2012.
The development will create around 180 new jobs, while a further 670 will be sustained as a result of construction work. Health minister Michael McGimpsey said: ‘This is a major step in the process of bringing a new state-of-the-art hospital to the people of the South West.
‘We are now entering the phase where the designs will become a reality and we will begin to see the new hospital take shape over the coming months, with work beginning on site immediately.’
He said the project was not only vital to the health of the community but would help support the local economy, ‘particularly at a time when so many people are losing their jobs’.
Mr McGimpsey added that it was exciting to see the plan finally up and running after the long, complex process of getting a hospital from drawing board to completion.