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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 January 2008, 15:13 GMT
Children's hospital cash agreed
The Children's Hospital for Wales in Cardiff
The first phase of the hospital included medical and cancer wards
Plans for the final phase of the 50m Children's Hospital for Wales are expected to clear their final hurdle.

Cardiff Local Health Board (LHB) is due to approve a reduced funding package.

Last July the scheme appeared in jeopardy when the board said it could not afford its 1.1m a year share of the hospital's projected running costs.

But in December Health Minister Edwina Hart stepped in to guarantee funding and under a revised plan the LHB will contribute about 299,000 each year.

The board is due to approve its funding commitment at a meeting on Wednesday following negotiations with Health Commission Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government and other partners.

The 10m first phase of the hospital, which is based at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, was completed in February 2005.

Off the hook

It includes two 25-bed medical wards and one 16-bed paediatric cancer ward.

The 40m second phase, whose capital cost will be paid for centrally by the assembly government, is due to open in 2010/11.

Catherine Zeta Jones opened the hospital's first phase
Catherine Zeta Jones at the first phase's official opening

It will centralise all inpatient and outpatient paediatric services and will include new surgical, overnight and cardiac beds, intensive care units and a radiology department.

The project had stalled after Cardiff LHB refused to support the blueprint for the second phase, but Ms Hart guaranteed to underwrite the funding gap to prevent the project suffering any further delays.

She urged all the parties in the project to "agree a long-term sustainable revenue arrangement", saying her guarantee was "not to let them off the hook in meeting their obligations".

Cardiff LHB chair Fiona Peel said: "We are pleased to be able to support this vital project and we are committed to working with the trust and Health Commission Wales to secure the successful development of the Children's Hospital for Wales.

"Phase Two will ensure that children requiring hospital treatment are treated in an environment that is fit for purpose and compares to the best in the UK."

The Noah's Ark Appeal was launched in May 2000 to find money to build Wales' only dedicated children's hospital and has currently raised 10m.

The appeal attracted support from celebrity fundraisers, including cricket star Ian Botham, Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta Jones and singers Charlotte Church and Shirley Bassey.

Zeta Jones and her husband, actor Michael Douglas, officially opened the first phase of the hospital in 2006.

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