Hospital closes wards to fix roof on day £600m repair fund revealed
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A Norfolk hospital had to close two wards to carry out emergency repairs to its roof on the day it was awarded £1.5m to carry out maintenance on its aging buildings.
It is understood the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn had to close Elm and Denver wards while the work was being carried out on Thursday, but both have since reopened.
Denise Smith, the QEH's chief operating officer, said: "Following routine estates inspection work we identified two areas of the hospital roof that required repairs. These have been carried out.”
It came as the government announced a £600m investment for NHS Hospitals in England, which will be spent on critical maintenance work and projects already under way, which are scheduled to be completed by March 2021.
South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss MP said: "This is very good news for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and will enable essential works as well as the continued delivery of routine procedures to take place. In the long term I am working with fellow MPs to secure further investment at the hospital."
The £1.5m awarded on Thursday is a fraction of the £500m needed to repair the roof at the 40-year-old QEH, which was originally expected to have a working life of 30 years.
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Hospital bosses and local MPs have been lobbying for a new hospital which will cost £679m.
The QEH is one of 16 hospitals competing for a share of a further funding pot, from which eight will be chosen to deliver a new hospital by 2030.
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North West Norfolk MP James Wild received a guarded response from Boris Johnson when he raised the issue in Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.
He asked for the QEH to be one of the eight new hospitals the government has committed to building, saying the hospital was in need of urgent modernisation due to issues with the concrete planks used to build its roof.
Mr Johnson said the Department of Health and Social Care was working with the hospital and as the eight schemes would be delivered in the second half of the decade, the competition process would be announced in due course.