Work on a £300m project to transform hospital services on Tyneside will begin in May, it has been announced.
The plans include a new casualty unit at the RVI
The Private Finance Initiative scheme will see Newcastle's A&E department moved from the city's General Hospital to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI).
New cancer and renal units will also be built at the city's Freeman Hospital.
The Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust provides healthcare services to 500,000 city residents and specialist services to three million others.
Equion Ltd, a division of John Laing plc, has signed contracts on the development as part of a funding deal with Healthcare Support (Newcastle) Limited - a joint venture between Equion Ltd, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Interserve Plc.
The project will rationalise acute hospital services within Newcastle from three to two sites.
At the Freeman Hospital, Healthcare Support (Newcastle) will design and construct a new renal services centre of over 4,000 sq m as well as a new four level cancer centre. There will also be a new 800-space multi-storey car park.
The RVI site will benefit from a new purpose-built children's services unit.
Construction will begin in May, with the majority of work completed by spring 2010 and an estimated completion date of April 2013 for all works.
Len Fenwick, chief executive of The Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "This major project will make demonstrable improvements to the health care estate here in the North East.
"We are particularly pleased to welcome the Northern Centre for Cancer Treatment and hope that this will allow us to make significant steps in reducing deaths from cancer in the area, as well as a new children's hospital and a major trauma accident and emergency centre for our region."
Gary Lucas, director of Equion, said: "This groundbreaking development will ensure that the North East of England will benefit from first-rate hospital services provided in modern, state-of-the-art new buildings."