Signatures for Rebuild the QEH campaign petition top 500 hours after launch
- Credit: QEH
More than 500 people have added their voice to a petition calling for a much-needed new hospital for West Norfolk within hours of it going online.
While an emergency payment of £20m has been agreed to cover maintenance, staff are waiting to hear whether a new build will be approved as part of the government's hospital improvement plan.
After missing out in a funding round which saw new-builds or refurbishments announced for 40 hospitals last year, the QEH is now one of 16 hospitals from which eight will be chosen to be replaced after 2025.
Norfolk West Norfolk MP James Wild has been pressing the case with ministers. He said funding for the eight would be part of a government spending review in November, after which bidding to be chosen would take place.
Mr Wild said the hospital had been told it had a strong case at a meeting he attended with its chief executive Caroline Shaw and health minister Edward Argar. He said the minister had encouraged the QEH to continue developing its business case.
"I very much welcome the launch of the petition and would encourage many people as possible to sign it to show how much demand there is for a new hospital," he said. "The more people we have making the case for a new hospital, the stronger the case gets."
A briefing on the government's hospital improvement plan, signed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, says "exceptionally strong schemes" could be considered sooner.
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Mr Hancock's office declined to discuss this, forwarding our request for a comment to the Department for Health and Social Care, where a spokesman said: “We fully recognise the need to invest in improving health infrastructure across the country, including where trusts have identified significant issues.
“Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn will receive over £20 million to directly address the most immediate issues. We will shortly announce criteria and process for a further eight schemes to be included in the new hospitals programme."
The EDP has launched a petition to show Mr Hancock the strength of support for a new-build. You can sign it here https://tinyurl.com/7n7z5j67.