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Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital shuts three operating theatres after movement spotted in nearby ceiling



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Three operating theatres at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital have been shut as a precaution after staff noticed movement in the ceiling nearby.

Teams observed the issues with the suspended ceiling above the corridor in the QEH's main theatre complex, which leads to three of its six elective operating theatres, over the last two days.

Officials said operations scheduled to take place in those theatres today have been transferred to its Sandringham Unit and other theatres, meaning none of the planned procedures need to be postponed.

Three operating theatres at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital have been shut as a precaution after staff noticed movement in the ceiling nearby
Three operating theatres at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital have been shut as a precaution after staff noticed movement in the ceiling nearby

But the hospital's deputy chief operating officer, Sarah Jones, said it was just another example of the current building not being fit for use.

"This demonstrates once again that our hospital is unfit for purpose and the need for an urgent announcement about the desperately needed funding for a new QEH, recognising the impact on patient and staff experience and the operational running of our hospital,” she said.

Ms Jones said the theatres had been shut as a precautionary measure and to maximise everyone's safety so the QEH's team of expert surveyors could assess the structural integrity of the roof.

Emergency props on the QEH theatre corridor
Emergency props on the QEH theatre corridor

In pictures obtained by the Lynn News, emergency props can be seen holding up the ceiling in the corridor.

Cllr Rob Colwell, who represents Gaywood South at Norfolk County Council, said he was 'shocked' to hear of the latest observations that have led to the ward closures.

"Whilst vital checks are undertaken as to the structural integrity, it really highlights the stark dangers facing the QEH and the huge possible danger to patients and staff," he said.

"The hospital and the community have been warning for years. For our hospital to be mentioned in the live leadership debates by Liz Truss, shows the crisis facing our local vital health service.

"Whilst the prognosis of this latest development is uncertain, I worry about the impact this halving of capacity will have on the known backlogs to NHS waiting lists that existed even before covid.

"I urge this zombie government to make a decision now on a full rebuild for our propped up hospital, rather than delay many more months, whilst this leadership pantomime plays out. No more excuses."

And Cllr Jo Rust, who represents Springwood at West Norfolk Council, has contacted North West Norfolk MP James Wild and new Health Secretary Steve Barclay about the QEH situation, which she said was 'simply unacceptable'.

"If you are both committed to getting funding for our hospital to have the new build it needs, then you must do more, work harder and resolve the matter now. Not in the autumn," she said.

It comes following countless calls to the Government to fund a rebuild of the crumbling hospital, which has around 1,500 props supporting the roof.

A large part of the QEH was built in 1980 with aerated concrete and was given a lifespan of about 30 years. Over time, water can get into the structure and weaken it.

Eighty per cent of the first floor was constructed with this method.



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