County council joins calls to rebuild crumbling QEH

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, where staff could soon be given home testing kits for Covid-19 - Credit: Ian Burt

County councillors have agreed to pressure the government to replace the crumbling hospital in King’s Lynn.

The roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) needs to be replaced and is currently being supported by almost 200 metal poles.

In March, patients had to be moved out of the critical care unit because of the risk of collapse.

While the government has given the hospital £20m for urgent repair work, it would cost £554m to maintain it over the next decade.

A new-build would cost £679m.

While the government agreed funding last year for the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston to develop the case for a rebuild, the QEH missed out.

It is one of 16 waiting on a decision over eight new builds, due in November.

County councillors in the arena at the Norfolk Showground.

County councillors, meeting at the Norfolk Showground, unanimously backed the motion. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

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And, at the first Norfolk County Council since the election, motions from Alexandra Kemp, independent councillor for Clenchwarton and King’s South, and Bill Borrett, Conservative cabinet member for adult social care, calling for government action were merged and agreed.

Miss Kemp said at today’s meeting, held at the Norfolk Showground: “The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is falling down. The roof is caving in.

“This has gone on for too long. It desperately needs a rebuild, not in 10 years’ time. It’s needed now.”

Norfolk county councillor Alexandra Kemp, who represents Clenchwarton and King's Lynn South. Picture

Independent county councillor Alexandra Kemp. - Credit: Ian Burt

The Eastern Daily Press has been running our Rebuild the QEH campaign and petition to call for the government to commit to a new hospital.

Mr Hancock's office recently refused to accept a petition, set up by the EDP and signed by more than 6,200 people.

Labour’s Brenda Jones said: that was “sad” and that “the reality is that people in Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn cannot wait another decade until new hospitals are finished.”

Lib Dem group leader Brian Watkins said the state of the QEH meant it was “no longer fit for purpose as a 21st Century hospital.”

Stuart Dark, Conservative councillor for Dersingham and new leader of West Norfolk Council, said he and council leader Andrew Proctor had recently met bosses at the hospital to discuss how they could support the campaign to rebuild it.

The motion also calls for the new build hospital, once “urgently approved” to have its build and design fast tracked.