A £15.7 million addition to Gwent's newest hospital is being planned by health chiefs - before the building has even opened its doors.

A new hospital sterilisation and disinfection unit (HSDU) - for cleaning re-usable surgical and medical equipment - will be built next to the Grange University Hospital at Llanfrechfa, subject to approval and funding from the Welsh Government.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board is hoping that both will be forthcoming in time to have the unit ready when the hospital begins to treat patients, scheduled for spring 2021.

There is currently an HSDU at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport - which also services the neighbouring St Woolos Hospital and Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr in Ystrad Mynach - and at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny.

But the advent of the Grange University Hospital will significantly alter the distribution of operating theatres across health board sites.

Currently it is envisaged that the Grange will have 11 theatres when it opens, with the number of theatres at the Royal Gwent falling from 23 to 20, and at Nevill Hall from eight to four. St Woolos Hospital, which now has two theatres, will not have any.

The health board has reviewed its HSDU set-up in the light of these impending changes. It is proposing that a new HSDU be built at the Grange site, to serve the new hospital, Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, and Nevill Hall, with the unit at the latter being closed.

It was not considered prudent to centralise all sterilisation and disinfection services at one unit, given the scale of change faced by surgical services when the Grange opens, so the HSDU at the Royal Gwent will remain - for the foreseeable future, according to a health board - and will serve only that hospital.

The review also had to take into account national policy guidance on sterilisation services which was revised some four years ago - when planning for the Grange University Hospital was well advanced - and which recommends that HSDUs are located at hospitals where acute surgery is carried out.