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Pressure builds for a new hospital

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I’m delighted to provide an update on the Trust’s work to bring a much-needed new hospital to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.

Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge the operational pressures the hospital is currently experiencing – particularly in the Emergency Department.

Our staff are doing all they can to provide timely care to patients and deliver safe, high-quality care. Day in, day out, they go the extra mile.

Professor Steve Barnett (53141639)
Professor Steve Barnett (53141639)

I am enormously grateful for their ongoing dedication and commitment in these challenging circumstances, which I know are mirrored across the NHS.

I want to say sorry to those members of our local community who have experienced significant delays in the Emergency Department.

If you don’t have life threatening symptoms, please use the NHS 111 service to find the best place and option for treatment based on your symptoms.

You can access it online or call 111. This will help to relieve the pressure on QEH.

The reality is the Emergency Department now sees more than 70,000 patients each year – which is 40,000 more patients a year than it was designed for.

The Trust’s current Emergency Department has significantly outgrown its footprint, as has the hospital generally, with a 64% increase in overall floor space needed to maintain our services and meet future demand.

The growing and ageing population means more people are using our services each year and the population is set to increase further in the decades to come, with many more housing developments planned for the locality.

As well as outgrowing the current footprint, it is well-known that our buildings have reached the end of their life and need replacing.

We now desperately need a new hospital to continue to provide the very best care for our patients and local communities and to secure a sustainable long-term solution for the QEH.

We are working extremely hard to develop our case for a new hospital. We are currently evaluating a range of options with patient, staff and other community representatives.

This includes a single-phase full new build hospital and another for a multi-phase development – part new-build and part refurbishment.

We are also looking at whether a new hospital would be built on the existing hospital site or elsewhere. We’re aiming to identify a preferred option for a new hospital build by early 2022 and will keep you updated as we make progress.

We remain confident we have a very strong case; not least because of the unique set of circumstances faced by the QEH, which includes an end-of-life date of 2030 for the current hospital and QEH being the most propped hospital in the country.

We expect to find out in the coming months if we have been selected to go through to the next stage of the assessment process for the Government’s New Hospital Programme.

A final decision on the further eight new hospital schemes is expected in Spring 2022.

We are fortunate to continue to receive fantastic support from local MPs across Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. James Wild, MP for North West Norfolk recently raised the case for a new hospital at Prime Minister’s Questions.

And Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk and the Foreign Secretary emphasised to the Health and Social Care Secretary that a single-phase new build hospital is the only sustainable solution for QEH. Local councillors are equally as supportive, for which we are grateful, as is our wonderful local community.

You too can show your support by signing the e-petition for a new hospital. Please urge your family and friends to do the same.

We want to do all we can to reach 100,000 signatures by January 2022 to trigger a debate in Parliament. It takes less than a minute and can be found here Please spread the word.

Visit www.qehkl.nhs.uk for more information about our work and if you have any questions please get in touch by emailing communicationsqeh@qehkl.nhs.uk.

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