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'Don't ignore your symptoms', plead King's Lynn hospital bosses

People in West Norfolk are being urged not to ignore their symptoms even as hospital staff face the prospect of a second spike in coronavirus cases .

Bosses at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital say they are also prioritising cancer care and treatment for patients who have already endured long waits for care.

There has been widespread concern in recent months that the focus on the pandemic may have put some patients with symptoms from accessing treatment, which could potentially trigger a surge in cancer cases over the coming years.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.. (42559685)
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.. (42559685)

And QEH chief executive Caroline Shaw this week said patients “need to go to your GP and get referred in” if they have issues which are not going away.

The trust says it also wrote to GPs during the coronavirus crisis to ask them to continue referring patients to the hospital who needed further care.

Meanwhile, the hospital now has more than 350 patients on its books who have been waiting more than 52 weeks for treatment, compared to zero nine months ago.

While the surge has been linked to the pandemic, additional capacity will be available when the neighbouring Sandringham Hospital, which the QEH announced the purchase of last month , comes into service from the beginning of November.

The exact amount spent on buying the facility from BMI has not yet been disclosed, though officials say they expect the costs to be recovered with 12 to 18 months.

And Mrs Shaw said the facility will be ringfenced so that it can return elective care to pre-Covid levels.

Her board report said: “It will provide us with a dedicated elective inpatient facility and hopefully, in the future, a small private practice that will generate income for the Trust that will be reinvested back into NHS services.

“Over the next few weeks we will be undertaking some estates work to maximise the potential of the building, allowing us to create a dedicated elective patient facility – with all pre-operative assessment activity moving to the site, as well as providing us with an additional 30 beds and two theatres.”

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