Doubt has been cast on whether the multi-million-pound rebuilds of two Norfolk hospitals will be completed by 2030.

In May, the government announced it was adding King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), where thousands of props and girders are holding up the roof, to its rebuilding programme.

Eastern Daily Press: Girders and props are holding up the roof at the Queen Elizabeth HospitalGirders and props are holding up the roof at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Image: Denise Bradley)

The QEH and the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston - which was already on a list of hospitals to be rebuilt - both contain reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

Eastern Daily Press: The James Paget University Hospital at GorlestonThe James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston (Image: Mike Page)

That is the same material which has sparked headlines because of concerns schools are at risk of collapse as it only has a 30-year life expectancy.

Although the government announced the two Norfolk hospitals, along with West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, would be among seven prioritised for rebuilding, an influential committee of MPs questioned whether the 2030 target will be met.

Members of the cross-party parliamentary Public Accounts Committee grilled civil servants on Thursday (September 7).

Eastern Daily Press: Sir Geoffrey Clifton-BrownSir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Image: UK Parliament)

The committee's deputy chairman Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown questioned whether rebuilds, including the QEH and James Paget, would happen by the targeted date, given they have yet to be designed and the funding remains unclear.

Eastern Daily Press: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's LynnThe Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn (Image: Mike Page)

The Conservative MP said: "I don't see how you possibly have enough time to rebuild these hospitals by 2030."

Natalie Forrest, from the New Hospitals Programme at the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), acknowledged hitting the 2030 target was a "challenge".

She said the business case work could be done at the same time as designs were put together and the use of standardised components, with pre-fabricated parts made off-site, would speed up the process.

She said that meant hospitals could be built in six years, rather than the current average of 11.

Eastern Daily Press: Mark Francois, MPMark Francois, MP (Image: UK Parliament)

But Conservative MP Mark Francois said: "In three years, you’ve built one and you’re now telling us you’re going to build all the other 39 within seven years? Because on your progress to date, you’re not going to get anywhere near it, are you?"

Shona Dunn, permanent secretary at the DHSC, said the "intention" was to build the 40 hospitals announced in May, which includes the QEH and the James Paget.