Video: New A&E unit up and ready at King’s Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Inside the new A&E department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Inside the new A&E department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A new £2m extension to the busy accident and emergency unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital will mean fewer patients waiting in corridors or having to spend time in general wards.

The two-storey modular extension beside the A&E department includes observational areas where patients can be monitored for slightly longer without having to admit them into the main hospital.

The King's Lynn hospital, put in 'special measures' in October after regulators identified a series of failings, failed to meet the 95pc A&E waiting time target in February for patients to be seen, treated and discharged within four hours.

The new unit is formed from 16 separate modules which were craned over the main hospital building and into the courtyard, and provides an additional 600 sq m of space.

The ground floor comprises additional treatment areas and observation rooms and the first floor is new offices.

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Patients will still present themselves to the old A&E unit but some will then be taken to the new site.

A&E consultant Christopher Lloyd said the new unit would not necessarily cut waiting times at A&E, but he said: 'It was absolutely required. The department was too small and the area was really cramped. We regularly run out of space and no longer have a quiet period in the day.

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'It means that we can stream patients better, with those more critical in one department, and those less serious in a secondary area that we had not been able to use before.

'It will also allow patients at A&E to be seen by the right people. Those who need to be seen for longer can be taken to the observation rooms, rather than taking up beds in the main hospital, so it will release pressure, and will also help us hit the A&E waiting time targets. And it's nice and quiet too.'

The new unit is decorated with beautiful photographs taken in the area and Suzie Robinson Southey, A&E consultant nurse, said: 'We tried to create a feeling of space at the new unit and we're really pleased with it. It does not look like a module.

'It's for admitting patients who need less than 24 hours in hospital, and will be used for everyone - from patients with head injuries or who have fallen to some mental health patients.

'It will be a smoother experience for the A&E patients and there won't be so much waiting in corridors.'

The extension and refurbishment boasts four new beds and five cubicles, for either men or women, and a designated room for larger patients. It also has a special trolley for people requiring extra gadgets, and the whole building is more dementia-friendly.

More than 50 staff work at A&E, which is used by between 130 and 200 patients daily, but the hospital is recruiting to bring that total up to more than 70. Work started on the new unit in mid-November and took 13 weeks. The bulk of the £2m cost came from the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group as part of the £3.9m 'winter monies' allocated to the region's health economy by the government last autumn.

How do you think the QEH is doing? Write, giving your full contact details, to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email

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