Ministers urged to replace crumbling QEH by West Norfolk MP

Protestors outside the QEH hospital in Kings Lynn, organised by Kings Lynn Trades Council.Byline: S

Protestors outside the QEH hospital in Kings Lynn, organised by King's Lynn Trades Council. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

An MP has again urged ministers to replace a crumbling Norfolk hospital.

Thousands have now signed petitions calling for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn to be rebuilt.

Some 200 props are now in place holding up parts of its roof. But the QEH was not included in a list of 40 new builds announced by the government in October.

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

On Tuesday, North West Norfolk MP James Wild raised the case for a new hospital during Department of Health and Social Care questions in the House of Commons.

Maintaining the roof for the next decade will cost £554m - almost as much as a new hospital.

Mr Wild said spending hundreds of millions of pounds patching up QEH ,which has 200 safety props currently did not represent value for money and a new fit for purpose hospital is needed for patients, staff, and visitors.

Mr Wild said almost 4,000 people have signed a petition launched by the Love West Norfolk group last week. It comes after almost 8,000 signed a petition launched by the EDP.

James Wild, North West Norfolk MP. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

James Wild, North West Norfolk MP. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

In response, the Health Minister Ed Argar recognised the seriousness of the situation at QEH as reflected in the £20.6m new capital funding provided this year for the most immediate issues.

He acknowledged the challenges QEH faces and announced that safety would be one of the considerations used to select the further eight new hospital schemes the government committed to in the spending review.

The money will fund so-called decant wards and theatres, where patients can be moved in the event of the roof becoming unsafe in other areas of the hospital.

QEH

League of Friends shop at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn reopens - Credit: QEH

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The hospital's risk register warns there is "a direct risk to life and patients, visitors and staff".

Campaigners hope the QEH will be one of eight new builds given the go-ahead after a government spending review in November. Senior staff are drawing up a business case.

On a visit to the hospital last week, South West Norfolk MP and international trade minister Liz Truss said the rebuild was "a priority".

Liz Truss during her visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Liz Truss during her visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. - Credit: Queen Elizabeth Hospital

You can sign the EDP petition at https://tinyurl.com/8j2be9fm. The Love West Norfolk petition is at https://tinyurl.com/24e5se7k