Public health minister Yvette Cooper has overturned opposition to a £200m hospital in Birmingham to replace the Queen Elizabeth and Selly Oak hospitals.

The plans had been opposed by South Birmingham community health council, which claimed a cut in bed numbers would leave the new hospital unable to cope with demand. Chair Ursula Pearce said the decision was 'bad news for Birmingham'. The CHC said its position was 'vindicated' by the government's national beds inquiry report, which said more beds are needed nationwide.

'The plans for the new hospital suggest there will be about 200 fewer acute beds than at present. If the situation in south Birmingham is typical of the country as a whole, the government report suggests we actually need between 50 and 100 more beds, ' Ms Pearce said.

A final ministerial decision on the plans is expected later this year.