COMMERCIAL: East and North Hertfordshire Trust’s £72m hospital redevelopment has been given the go ahead by the health secretary.

Andrew Lansley visited the Lister Hospital in Stevenage on Thursday to back the plan which will make it the main emergency and inpatient hospital in the region.

The Tower Building will be refurbished to provide 78 additional beds, and the critical care unit will be increased from 12 to 20 beds.

The plan is part of the local “Our changing hospitals” project, which will see services concentrated at the Lister and changes to the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Welwyn Garden City.

Mr Lansley said: “I am thrilled to announce the redevelopment of Lister Hospital. It’s great news for patients, staff, and the community. This funding will ensure that the Trust has modern buildings that are fit for purpose and will help the trust deliver even better care in a more efficient way. It will also help it achieve its ambition to become a foundation trust in the near future.

“The urgent need for this project has been apparent for many years now and I applaud the hard work of those who have brought us to this point. This is the fourth and final phase of the reconfiguration of services in east and north Hertfordshire and it will help deliver high quality and sustainable care for patients for many years to come.”