A WORLD-renowned hospital in Stanmore has finally won its battle for funding from the government for its rebuilding project.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham today announced £81m will be invested in rebuilding the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, bringing to an end a 46-year battle to keep the specialist facility open.

Mr Burnham was at the hospital, in Brockley Hill, – described by many as a “jewel in the crown of the NHS” - to formally reveal the approval of funding.

He said: “The NHS should be able to offer something better in this day and age for patients, these buildings are not fit for health care in the modern age.

“I think this will transform the patient experience here, giving them the space and privacy that is tremendously important.

“It has been a long time coming, and I know the frustration people have felt when promises didn't come through, but we are moving on from that and I'm delighted to be able to be here today.”

Patients, doctors, and health trust bosses have been lobbying the government for years, demanding the hospital, which is currently a network of ageing and decaying buildings some pre-dating the NHS itself, is rebuild so facilities match the standard of care.

Professor Tim Briggs, medical director at the hospital, said: “We can now build world class facilities that complement the care that goes on in this organisation.

“I think the blockage was at NHS London, which thinks specialist hospitals shouldn't stand alone.

“But now we have won that argument that hospitals like this are the jewel in the crown of the NHS.”

Philip Coburn, 43, a photographer for the Sunday Mirror who lost both legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan earlier this year, is a patient at the Stanmore hospital and met with Mr Burnham during the visit.

He said: “The care here has been superb, it is first class and I can't thank the staff enough.

“The hospital itself is like a third world site, like it is a set design by the Monty Python team.

“Getting from A to B in a wheelchair can be difficult, so I think a new building will make a big difference.”

Tony McNulty, Labour MP for Harrow East, was at the hospital today to welcome Mr Burnham, having first brought him to the site in 2006.

He said: “This has been a long time coming, I'd rather this had happened two, three, or four years ago, and it has been a tortuous process.

“This hospital is much bigger than me or anyone else, and I am just pleased to have played my part in making this happen.”

Now funding has been confirmed, work on the new hospital should begin in 2012, and trust chiefs hope to open the new building in 2014.