Today, Thursday 25 May, the Government has announced that The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust (QEH) has been added to its New Hospital Programme.
Everyone at Team QEH is overjoyed with this fantastic news and would like to thank our amazing local community, partners and external stakeholders, as well as our dedicated staff and local politicians for their tireless support and help in securing a new hospital.
Alice Webster, Chief Executive, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been added to the New Hospital Programme. This crucial announcement means we can move at pace to bring a much-needed new hospital to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. It’s excellent news for our patients, the communities we serve and every person in TeamQEH, and I want to express our immense gratitude to all who have supported us in getting to this crucial stage. Our campaign for a new hospital united us all and I am delighted that we have achieved this result together.”
Chris Lawrence, Chair of the Trust, said: “This is fantastic news for QEH and a pivotal moment that repays all the hard work of so many people who have lobbied with such determination and commitment. A new hospital is the only sustainable long-term solution to the unique challenges we face, and we are really pleased and delighted the urgent need for a new QEH has been formally recognised. We can now move forward with building a new hospital on the current hospital site, so we are ready to open doors to patients by 2030.”
Antonia Hardcastle, Lead Governor representing 6,300 public members of the Trust,said: “The Governors are delighted that QEH has been awarded funding for a new hospital. Now our patients can be assured that they will benefit from a modern hospital.”
The next phase
Being added to the New Hospital Programme heralds the start of the next phase in bringing a new state-of-the-art hospital to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, and our local population.
QEH facilities will be transformed, providing a safe, modern environment to deliver top quality care to patients and will enable the Trust to continue its integral role in the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system.
The current hospital has a 2030 end of life deadline due to its construction using Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) which is failing.
A three-year rolling programme of RAAC surveying and maintenance work to maximise the safety and compliance of the building will continue. This includes the installation of failsafes across the whole of the first floor of the hospital. There are 4,394 steel and timber support props in 56 areas of the hospital – eight times more props than beds.
These failsafes do not extend the life of the hospital but do impact on the operational running of the hospital and patient experience. Currently there are four theatres that are unable to be used because of this important safety work.
Enabling work to make way for a new hospital has already begun, including submitting full planning permission to build a multi-storey car park which will free up the current car park where a new QEH will be built.
The new hospital scheme is ‘investment ready’ and the Trust is confident it has done everything possible to deliver a new hospital by 2030, including recently completing its Strategic Outline Case, in readiness for moving on to the Outline Business Case. It will take a number of years to go through the necessary planning and approvals process and to build the hospital. The very earliest we would expect a new hospital to open its doors is 2029.
The Trust’s bid for a new hospital had unanimous support from health and care partners across Norfolk and Waveney, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire and key partners and stakeholders.
Responding to the announcement, the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, Chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said: “I am delighted by the announcement today of a new hospital serving the King’s Lynn and West Norfolk area. This redevelopment is a once in a generation opportunity to deliver a great new hospital for local people that will provide excellent health care and clinical facilities in a safe, modern environment, helping to improve health outcomes for our local communities for many years to come.
“Everyone in Norfolk and Waveney has been waiting patiently for this announcement, knowing that a new hospital is really needed. In addition to the new hospital planned to replace the James Paget University Hospital, and other capital investment programmes already confirmed across Norfolk and Waveney, this will give our staff, people and communities the modern facilities they need and deserve.”
James Wild, MP for North West Norfolk, said: “The announcement that QEH will be one of the new hospitals that the government is committed to building by 2030 is fantastic news. Following more than three years of hard campaigning, I’m delighted the compelling case I’ve been putting forward for a new hospital has been accepted. This success was only possible by working closely with Team QEH, local MPs, councils, and with strong local support.
“This means a hospital fit for the future will be built and it is a momentous day for West Norfolk. Now I will work with QEH, the NHS, and government to deliver the new hospital that patients, staff, and their families deserve by 2030.”
Councillor Terry Parish, Leader of Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk said: “This is a much awaited and welcome announcement. We value the work that the executive team, previous leader, Cllr Rust and all the residents of West Norfolk have put in to ensure our case was strong and compelling.”
Lorraine Gore, Chief Executive, Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, said: “This is the fantastic news we have been waiting for. With funding secured, the badly needed hospital to serve the residents of West Norfolk and beyond will now become a reality.”
Alex Stewart, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Norfolk, said: “Healthwatch Norfolk are delighted that the hospital has been chosen for the New Hospital Programme. It is obvious that the current state of the hospital with the growing number of props in place increasingly impacts adversely on patient, family and staff experience and in turn the confidence people have in the QEH, despite the significant improvements that have clearly been made by the leadership team over the last three years as recognised by the CQC earlier in the year. It is essential that we have a hospital in the area that is fit for purpose to serve our local residents and this news confirms that this will now happen.”
Alexandra Kemp, County Councillor for Clenchwarton and Lynn South, said: “I am rejoicing that the QEH has finally made it onto the New Hospital Programme and funding for a new hospital is secured. King’s Lynn will finally be able to have the hospital it needs and deserves. Government must release the funds now, so work can begin immediately. There must be no delay.