Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn needs to borrow £22m for a new roof
PUBLISHED: 18:27 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:49 09 February 2018
A Norfolk hospital has to borrow £22m to replace its entire roof.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn was already expecting to end the year £16m in the red.
Now papers seen by this website say that it must borrow millions more for work on its 40-year-old flat roof, which could take until 2024 to complete.
Officials say that the structure is showing “signs of age” and the work will secure the building’s future for an expected further 20 years of use.
Roy Jackson, the hospital’s director of resources, said: “The Trust has applied for loan finance of £22m, following professional advice on the expected costs involved, in respect of the roof project which will account for substantial works over five to six years.
“Works are complicated by the presence of asbestos and the need to create specific decant facilities as we move patients from the wards on a rolling basis during this work.
“The presence of considerable equipment sited on the roof complicates the nature of the work involved.”
The two-storey hospital building, at the junction of Lynn’s Gayton Road and the A149 Queen Elizabeth Way, first opened in 1980.
Around a decade ago, there were hopes that it could be replaced with a new building as it reached the end of the 30-year working life which was originally envisaged for it. A site between the current hospital and the Gaywood River was considered.
But the NHS said that it would be more cost effective to refurbish parts of the existing campus than build a new hospital.
Work on the site since then has included an extended A&E unit, a new breast care unit and new offices.
Last month a meeting of the QEH’s governing board heard that the hospital needs to apply for additional loans on a monthly basis, because its existing borrowing facilities have been exhausted.
A report said that a £3.5m loan was needed to enable it to pay staff wages and buy essential clinical supplies.
Chief executive Jon Green said it was a routine application for a loan which was made to NHS England every quarter. Mr Green said the hospital needed to use NHS England as its bank because it ran a “deficit position”.