Kier has been selected as the preferred bidder by the Sunderland City Council to build a $48m (£36m) Eye Hospital for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust in the city.

The move comes weeks after Sunderland City Council approved the planning application for the eye hospital.

The planned facility will offer specialist eye services replacing the existing Sunderland Eye Infirmary facilities, which are now more than 75 years old.

The new hospital will have an inclusive design with 7,000m2 of advanced clinical accommodation.

Ground floor of the hospital will have an emergency department. It will also provide medical retina, diagnostic imaging, outpatient services as well as clinical functions.

The project seeks to create a modern healthcare facility as part of Riverside Sunderland regeneration scheme.

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Works at the site are expected to begin in summer next year, with completion due in 2024.

Once completed, the eye hospital will treat patients from North East of England, Cumbria as well as other parts.

Kier Construction North & Scotland regional director Dan Doherty said: “There are very few specialist eye hospitals in the country and we are pleased to have been given the opportunity to develop a new state of the art Eye Hospital in Sunderland and make it fit for the future.

“We have vast amounts of experience and expertise in delivering healthcare projects across the country and we are proud to be working in collaboration with the Council, the Trust and our local supply chain to deliver this key project for the region.”