Published: 29/07/2004, Volume II4, No. 5916 Page 6

Health secretary John Reid has given the go-ahead to 15 new hospital developments.

The projects, worth£4bn, include a£1bn redevelopment of healthcare in Liverpool, incorporating improvements to mental health services; a£880m acute service reconfiguration in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, including a new hospital at Hatfield, and a£591m expansion of acute and community-based care run by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals trust.

Other plans given funding include a new children's and maternity hospital in Leeds; a 600-bed acute hospital in Northwick Park and St Marks; further redevelopment of Great Ormond Street Hospital, London;

replacement of accommodation in Hillingdon Hospital; and changes to specialist acute services in north Bristol and south Gloucestershire.Also given the green light are improvements to cardiothoracic services at Papworth Hospital trust.

The announcement came the day after Mr Reid gave his support for 20 more trusts to become foundation trusts in October, and confirmed that the October 2005 foundation wave will include mental health trusts.

Thirty-four trusts originally applied for foundation status in this wave.Four of them withdrew their applications, nine were automatically excluded when they lost a star last week, and South Devon Healthcare trust's application was rejected this week.