Papworth Hospital has received the go-ahead for its new Cambridge base.

The specialist hospital has been granted planning permission for a 310-bed heart and lung facility at the biomedical campus at Addenbrooke's Hospital.

It is also expected Papworth will receive the final stage of sign off to move to the city in early next year, and is set to open in 2018.

Stephen Bridge, chief executive, said: "This decision takes the hospital another step closer to finalising the project prior to work beginning on site in early 2015.

"I am delighted that after many years of planning, Papworth is so close to achieving this important goal. The new hospital will allow Papworth to continue to lead in cardiothoracic care and will allow us to offer the very best services and treatment to our patients."

Papworth's chairman and former consultant surgeon, Professor John Wallwork, added: "This is an exhilarating time for the hospital, as well as providing a fantastic service to our patients; this once in a lifetime opportunity also opens up exciting prospects in terms of world-class research and education facilities which will benefit the wider UK health economy on an unprecedented scale."