King's Lynn hospital bosses set out healthcare village image for future
Bosses at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital have this week set out their ambition to develop a one-stop complex of healthcare provision at the Gayton Road site.
The vision has been outlined as part of the case for a complete rebuild of the hospital.
Senior managers have previously claimed the QEH has endured decades of underinvestment in its buildings and facilities.
And trust chairman, Professor Steve Barnett, said the ultimate aim was to bring multiple areas of care on to one site.
He said: “The idea is to create a kind of healthcare village, which occupational health, mental health facilities, dentistry and day surgery are amalgamated in one place, for patient convenience.”
Chief executive Caroline Shaw added: “Not only that, we want the patients to have a modern experience which will benefit them.
“As it stands the hospital is structured in a manner that requires a lot of maintenance
work and we would rather focus on patients than keeping the hospital upright.”
The comments follow the launch of the Back Our Bid, Build Our Future campaign, in conjunction with the Lynn News in December, after the QEH missed out on a place in the list of 40 new hospitals promised by the government over the next decade.
Bidding for a supplementary list of eight others continues and Prime Minister Boris Johnson told North West Norfolk MP James Wild late last year that the Department for Health and Social Care is working with the QEH.
Last month, it was revealed that around 20 steel beams are currently being used to prop up the roof in parts of the building.
And that followed the temporary closure of two wards in December to enable emergency repairs to be undertaken.
It was confirmed that the structure had “outlived” its life expectancy and the trust has argued that the cost of maintaining current buildings or a new construction will both run into hundreds of millions of pounds.
The QEH is used by patients in southern Lincolnshire and northern Cambridgershire, as well as West Norfolk.
And, with the prospect of significant new housing development here in the years ahead, hospital bosses say they need to be ready to withstand the anticipated growth of demand.
Prof Barnett said: “We want to move forward with the area and provide an efficient experience that will increase patient flow and decrease waiting times, something that
a new hospital will provide.
“Our staff are dedicated to giving patients the very best care available
within their capability and a totally new structure would see that they could carry this out without hindrance.”
There was also a suggestion that a shopping area for both staff and patients could
form part of the site’s future development.
Mrs Shaw said: “This would be a great opportunity to provide employment for
those in the local area and be convenient for both staff and patients, having facilities
on hand will provide ease and comfort for everyone involved.”
“It’s just like outgrowing a house, needs change over the years and the population is only set to increase so we should adjust to the times - something the NHS has always been good at.
Prof Barnett added: “It makes sense not only financially but also for the environment as well.”