Future King's Lynn: 'Our vision for health goes far beyond a new hospital'

League of Friends shop at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn reopens

As part of our Future King's Lynn feature, why is the rebuilding of the hospital so crucial? - Credit: QEH

The creation of a new hospital in King's Lynn is part of the wider vision to improve health and social care in west Norfolk.

The condition of the ageing roof at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn, has been at the forefront of its case to be rebuilt, with some 200 props now installed throughout the Gayton Road site.

The hospital was built with an expected working life of 30 years in the late 1970s and was not included in the government's initial list of 40 hospitals given funding for new builds or restoration.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 1979. Picture: Archant Library

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 1979. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 1982. Picture: Archant Library

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 1982. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

More than 7,300 people have signed an EDP petition calling on the government to rebuild the QEH and it has continued to attract further community and regional political support.

Repairing the roof is estimated at £550m or a new building would cost £679m. The government has given the QEH £20m for urgent repair work.

A prop holding up the roof at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

An example of one of the 131 props in place around the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, including its kitchen and Rudham ward. - Credit: QEH


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Fresh calls have been made by the community and this paper to the newly appointed health secretary Sajid Javid to rebuild the hospital. 

Carly West-Burnham, director of strategy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said the trust hoped Mr Javid would urgently consider the bid as part of its wider vision to improve its services and make itself a local anchor institution.

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Mrs West-Burnham said:  "King’s Lynn is a great place to live and work and this message has been at the core of our successful recent recruitment campaign.

"The historic charms of King’s Lynn endure, but the landscape of the NHS changes constantly and Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is working hard to fulfil its vision and seize the many opportunities for improved health and social care.

"We wish the new secretary of state for health and social care well and we hope he will follow his predecessor in urgently considering our bid for a new hospital, so that our patients and staff have the hospital they deserve.

"In the meantime, we are investing £20.6m of government funding to further improve safety through ongoing repairs and maintenance and make service improvements.

"Our vision for QEH in caring for the needs of our patient and staff community goes far beyond a new hospital."

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, has 131 props keeping up its roof.

An example of one of the 131 props in place around the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, including its kitchen and Rudham ward. - Credit: QEH

The announcement of £25m to King's Lynn Town Deal has meant the hospital is making "good progress" with its new School of Nursing with expectations of taking its first intake in early 2022, providing courses for registered and unregistered nursing.

It is a partnership project between the trust, the College of West Anglia and West Norfolk and King's Lynn Borough Council. 

A school of nursing is set to open at the College of West Anglia in king's Lynn Picture: Matthew Us

The College of West Anglia in King's Lynn, where a school of nursing is set to open - Credit: Matthew Usher

The director of strategy said: "As a provider organisation, QEH has a key role to play, especially in leading the delivery of Place- Based Care and working even more closely with primary and social care organisations, local councils and educational institutions to provide better services.

"The Trust is also working more closely with the James Paget and Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals and is focusing on development of services in partnership to improve access to services and provide better care as part of closer Provider Collaboration.

"With more regional networks and shared decision-making we look forward to playing a crucial role in the future health and wellbeing of our workforce and all of the communities we serve."

Jo Ruse at the protest to encourage a rebuild of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

Jo Rust, Secretary of King’s Lynn and District Trades council, at the protest to encourage a rebuild of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

With staffing a general concern of the region Jo Rust, borough councillor and community campaigner said the investment into a new hospital would bring skilled staff to the area, which would only be boosted by ensuring services meet current and future need.

She said: "It will save people time and money and provide them with the reassurance to know they can have their health needs met locally.

"The borough council is looking at the £25m from the town fund and what we can spend it on in King's Lynn and make it an attractive proposition, but if our health care cannot keep up with its growth we are going to fail on that front."

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