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Boris Johnson hints a new nursing school is set to open at Norfolk College

PUBLISHED: 14:36 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:40 09 September 2020

A new nursing school could be set up at the College of West Anglia  Picture: Paul Tibbs

A new nursing school could be set up at the College of West Anglia Picture: Paul Tibbs

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A school of nursing could be opened in King’s Lynn.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled Moonshot, an operation to massively increase the number of coronavirus tests       Picture: Aaron Chown/PAPrime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled Moonshot, an operation to massively increase the number of coronavirus tests Picture: Aaron Chown/PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted an announcement was in the pipeline amid a stormy prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons today.

Proposals for the nursing school have been drawn up by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the College of West Anglia, with the support of West Norfolk council and other partners. The council has been earmarked for £750,000 in accelerated funding under the government’s town deal scheme.

If given the go-ahead by government, it hopes to spend almost £600,000 of it on modifying a building to create a training ward where courses would be delivered at the college’s Tennyson Avenue campus in Lynn.

Councillors heard last week a decision was expected soon. A spokesman said: “We, and our partners, are waiting to hear the decision and are grateful for the support from James Wild MP.”

The nursing school could help fill vacancies at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn  Picture: Ian BurtThe nursing school could help fill vacancies at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn Picture: Ian Burt

Mr Wild has lobbied the Department of Health and Social Care to support the proposals and highlighted the importance of having more training opportunities for people in west Norfolk.

At PMQs Mr Wild asked Mr Johnson: “Would my Right Honourable Friend encourage ministers to look favourably at proposals for a school of nursing at the College of West Anglia as part of accelerated to local training and job opportunities for local people?”

In a lull from the broadside from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer over the government’s handling of the coronavirus, Mr Johnson said: “I thank my honourable friend.

“He is an excellent champion for his area and if he can just contain his impatience a bit he may hear something to his advantage and to the advantage of his constituency from his Right Honourable Friend and mine, the communities secretary.”

The issue was raised during Prime Ministers Questions by North West Norfolk MP James Wild   Picture: Denise BradleyThe issue was raised during Prime Ministers Questions by North West Norfolk MP James Wild Picture: Denise Bradley

Plans for the nursing school were first revealed by Caroline Shaw, chief executive of the hospital, last year.

She said if training were on offer locally, it could help the QEH recruit more nurses.

Staff shortages on some wards were highlighted by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) when it placed the hospital in special measures two years ago.

But a recruitment campaign last year helped cut vacancies 198 to 51 - a record low vacancy rate for the hospital of just 5.2pc.


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