BUILDING work on the £350 million Grange University Hospital has reached its highest point - and the occasion is being marked this morning with a special topping out ceremony.

The occasion at the site in Llanfrechfa, near Cwmbran, marks an important milestone in the construction of the hospital, which is still some two years away from accepting its first patients.

Health minister Vaughan Gething is at the site to take part in a ceremonial pouring of concrete, and as the photographs here show, the hospital - which will treat Gwent's sickest patients - has taken shape rapidly since building work began in summer 2017.

South Wales Argus:

The hospital is a key component of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s Clinical Futures Programme, a long term transformation of health service delivery across Gwent.

Once a comprehensive programme of fitting out and equipping the hospital is completed, it will provide complex specialist and critical care treatment and will include a 24-hour acute assessment unit and emergency department, a broad range of diagnostic services, operating theatres, and a consultant-led obstetric unit.

It will also have a dedicated paediatric assessment unit to manage all paediatric emergencies, and will be a base for neonatal intensive care.

Mr Gething gave the final go-ahead for funding for the project almost two-and-a-half years ago, following a lengthy gestation period, and said: “It’s fantastic to see another landmark being reached in this state-of-the-art project.

"The new hospital will provide both separate emergency and specialist care, ensuring Aneurin Bevan University Health Board can maintain the highest standards of care.

“The project is an excellent example of Welsh Government funding creating health, education and economy benefits for the local area.”

South Wales Argus:

Health board chief executive Judith Paget said the hospital "will enhance the care we are able to offer to our patients, alongside our existing hospital sites and the important work that goes on in our communities to keep people healthy and out of hospital whenever possible".

“I would like to personally thank all our staff in the health board who continue to work hard to make this new hospital - and future models of care - a reality," she said.

“We couldn’t make Clinical Futures and this new hospital happen without the support of our partners and the close working relationships we have with them.

“I’d like to thank all our partners for their continuing help and encouragement including our construction partners Laing O’Rourke and Gleeds for turning our plans into a finished building that we can all be very proud of.”

The ceremony to mark the beginning of building work - in July 2017 - was one of the first engagements carried out by Ann Lloyd, is her role as chair of the health board.

"We have come a long way since then and just 20 months later, the Grange University Hospital is almost built," she said.