Work is to begin on an emergency care centre at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan.

The Welsh health minister Edwina Hart has announced £22m will be spent on the centre to improve the emergency care environment for patients and staff and increase the speed of treatment.

The centre will be fitted with an MRI scanner and doctors will be able to provide patients with trauma, medical and surgical assessment services.

Cardiac emergencies will be given a fast-track facility and out-of-hours GPs will also be housed in the centre.

The assembly government’s NHS capital budget has pledged £15.4m to the development and a further £6.5m of consequential capital funding will be taken from this year’s UK Budget announcement.

Mrs Hart said: “The new emergency care centre will provide more space for staff and patients, enhance services for patients and help to reduce waiting times and improve privacy and dignity of patients.

“This investment will complement recent investment in the hospital and patients will see significant improvements in the speed of treatment and quality of the environment for care.”

The investment comes after £50m was spent at the hospital to upgrade wards and develop a day-case surgery unit.