The NHS is planning a major change in how healthcare is provided in South Devon as part of a massive hospital rebuilding programme.

The Government says its investment at Torbay Hospital will see a new, smaller acute hospital for urgent and emergency care.

There will also be a separate new unit for planned specialist care and surgery, known as ‘elective’ procedures.

The announcement of funding from the £3.7billion Health Infrastructure Plan includes money for a joint planned care unit for the North, East and South of Devon.

A statement said the services at Torbay would be ‘underpinned’ by an electronic patient record system and ‘technology enabled care’.

The three Devon schemes are among 25 in the second wave of the programme of investment and are expected to be buit by 2030.

The announcement was welcomed on Monday by the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Torbay Hospital.

A spokesman said: “We will not just be rebuilding Torbay Hospital. We are planning a fundamental review of the ways that we support the people of Torbay and South Devon to live healthier lives and how we provide care when they need it.”

Torbay MP Kevin Foster welcomed the news. He said: “When the Prime Minister visited Torbay Hospital last year he heard first hand from staff about the work they do and the difference this major investment project could make in transforming NHS services here in the Bay.

“I am therefore delighted confirmation has now been given this project will progress and not only see the largest investment in our Bay’s hlth services since the creation of the NHS in 1948, but also help our economy build back better after the impact of the Covid-19.”

Dr Rob Dyer, deputy chief executive of the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The buildings will be flexible enough to support how modern medicine develops over the next 30 or so years and will help us to separate the care ofpeople who need emergency care from those with planned or routine care which has become so difficult during the Covid-19 pandemic.”