Pressures highlight need for new hospital
- Credit: QEH
The need to replace a crumbling hospital was highlighted again as senior managers heard it will soon find out whether it will be replaced.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) at King's Lynn was not included on a list of new builds announced in 2020 by prime minister Boris Johnson.
It is one of 120 hospitals which have applied to be among eight more schemes which will be announced in the spring.
Today the QEH's ruling board heard two expressions of interest had been submitted to government - one for a single-phase full new build and another for a multi-phase development, part new-build and part refurbishment.
Its chief executive Caroline Shaw said in a report: "We remain confident we have a very strong case. We expect to find out early 2022 if we have been selected to go through to the next stage of the assessment process for the government’s New Hospital Programme. A final decision on the further eight new hospital schemes is expected in spring 2022."
Ms Shaw said the "unprecedented operational pressures" the QEH was experiencing highlighted the need for a new hospital.
She said its emergency department now sees more than 70,000 attendances a year, adding: "That is 40,000 more patients than it was designed for when the hospital was built in 1980, and we have now outgrown our hospital.
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"An increase in the overall footprint of over 60pc is needed across the hospital to sustain current services and meet future demand."
Ms Shaw said the QEH had presented "a robust case for change", while an "end of life date" for the current hospital was now expected to be 2030.
She added continued investment in the existing hospital was "vitally important" because even if it was included in the new hospital programme, the earliest a new hospital could be expected to open its doors would be 2029."
A new £12m endoscopy unit is being built on the site, while a new outpatient unit is expected to open in the spring.
More than 200 props have been installed to support the roof of the crumbling QEH, which was built with an expected working life of 30 years in 1980 but is still operating more than four decades later.
More than 10,000 have signed an EDP petition calling for a new hospital which is online at https://tinyurl.com/2w6mdv66.