King's Lynn hospital chairman warns of 'critical phase' in rebuild campaign
The fight to secure a new hospital for West Norfolk is entering "a critical phase", according to a senior official.
Pressure for urgent Government action has grown in recent weeks, as the number of steel props being used to hold up the roof of the existing Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn continues to rise.
Papers to be presented to the hospital's board next week describe the potential risk to patients, staff and visitors from a roof failure as both "catastrophic" and "likely".
And, in his report to the meeting on Tuesday, trust chairman Professor Steve Barnett warned the decisive moments are coming soon.
He wrote: "We are entering a critical phase when our aim to provide the kind of sustainable and excellent facilities that our population deserves is being considered at the highest levels.
"We will do everything we can to turn our vision in to a reality that is consistent with the policy levers that are requiring a more integrated approach to long-term health and social care and wellbeing."
Thousands have signed petitions in support of the QEH's cause, while hundreds have already taken part in a postcard campaign spearheaded by the Lynn and District Trades Council.
But, while the campaigning continues, the number of steel props being used to support the hospital's roof has risen to nearly 200 and, with more than half of the roof still to be surveyed, it is likely that number will rise still further.
Prof Barnett said the trust was "extremely grateful" for the extent of the support shown to the rebuild campaign so far.
He added: "The Trust has started to develop its Strategic Outline Case to further strengthen the compelling case it submitted last year as part of the NHS’s response to the Comprehensive Spending Review.
"With the support of our local community, QEH is determined to continue lobbying hard to position the Trust to be one of the further eight new hospitals to be built when the announcement is made later this year."