THE bulk of the funding for Gwent’s long-anticipated Specialist and Critical Care Centre, which will treat the area’s sickest patients, is anticipated to come during 2017-18 and 2018-19, according to a health board report.

Planning and preparatory work for the centre (SCCC), to be built on the site of the former Llanfrechfa Grange Hospital near Cwmbran, is escalating in the aftermath of the approval last autumn of an outline business case.

Work has begun on a detailed full business case, to be submitted to the Welsh Government in September next year, and funding of £14.4 million for this and a package of advanced works has been agreed.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s latest medium-term plan contains a forecast of how the funding for the SCCC will be allocated annually.

The cost is estimated at £227m without inflation, and more than 60 per cent of this is forecast to come over two years — £81.5m in 2017-18 and £62m in 2018-19.

These will be preceded in 2016-17, subject to full business case approval, by almost £50m which will signal the start of the main building phase.

The centre is currently predicted to open in mid-2019, and funding of £18.5m for 2019-20 would allow for the completion of the centre if the timetable is met.

The only other source of capital funding currently available to the health board for the next few years is annual discretionary funding to deal with issues such as IT, equipment replacement, building upkeep and statutory issues such as fire safety work.

The annual award for this is currently £5.67m, which would mean, along with £400,000 of known income from the sales of former health board property, a total of almost £28.8m over the next five years.

The health board, however, estimates that £55m will be needed to meet discretionary funding commitments over that period, linked to preparing hospitals and other buildings for new roles in the future.

Potential schemes are being prioritised, and the health board intends to attempt to secure extra funding from the Welsh Government.