Council throws its weight behind hospital rebuild

QEH, Stuart Dark and Jo Rust

Councillors across the political divide come together to support a QEH rebuild - Credit: Archant

West Norfolk Council has unanimously thrown its weight behind calls for a hospital rebuild.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn has stood for 10 years longer than its intended 30-year shelf life, with the roof now being held up almost 200 props.

On Thursday, in a motion put forward by Conservative council leader Stuart Dark and Independent Jo Rust, the council was asked to recognise the urgency and to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with groups calling for the rebuild.

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

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

“While all in this chamber readily acknowledge and applaud the amazing work done by the staff and contractors at ‘our’ hospital over many years, brought sharply into focus during the last 18 months of the pandemic, it is a simple truth that this great work is now being done in spite of, rather than supported by, a building built 40 years ago and way beyond its intended operational life span," they said.

The pair described £20m of emergency government funding as a "short-term sticking plaster" and said west Norfolk needs a hospital capable of support staff, patients and visitors. 

Councillors across the divide came together in support, calling it "beyond politics", with Labour leader Charles Joyce applauding Ms Rust for putting the hospital ahead of politics to second the motion.

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

Brian Long, former council leader, said the motion showed the council's position to both the government and the community.

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"I have not met anyone who says we do not need a new hospital," Mr Long said.

"Anyone living in west Norfolk will find themselves in there or visiting someone in there, we deserve something right and proper.

"We pay the same rate of taxation and on that basis, we deserve the facilities as good as the rest of the country."

The council unanimously resolved to support the QEH leadership team in their bid for a new hospital in west Norfolk alongside the county council, MPs and community campaigns.

Almost 8,000 people have signed our online petition calling for the QEH to be replaced.

Mr Dark also called for people to support the Love West Norfolk campaign to get the issue debated in parliament.