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Making the most of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital site in King’s Lynn

In the weekly Ward Round column, Queen Elizabeth Hospital CEO Alice Webster discusses progress with the new build…

This month I wanted to update you on our progress to date towards our new QEH as I know that quite rightly there is huge passion within our local community for this essential project.

You will be aware that the current building suffers from safety issues due to it being constructed of Reinforced Autoclave Aerated Concrete (RAAC). Work is ongoing to make the building temporarily secure, but independent, expert assessment undertaken nationally for NHS England has shown this will only make the building safe up to 2030.

The new hospital plan
The new hospital plan

It will not be possible to extend the lifespan of the current QEH further. We are not able to prolong the life of the RAAC only ensure that we failsafe against any further deterioration. Our building is made up of 79% RAAC so this is critical.

Our strong case for a new hospital, together with our proposal for how we will provide a new hospital for this area, meant that in May 2023, we were accepted onto the Government’s New Hospital Programme.

With this 2030 deadline in mind, our teams are working hard to get spades in the ground. We have a clear roadmap for the project, with robust contingencies in place, to achieve this in the timeframe.

We are confident that currently we are working to the right option for patients. As you would expect, there has been and is a very robust and rigorous process to follow as set down for all major public sector construction projects.

The Government rules for major projects, including new hospitals, that we must treat our documentation as commercially sensitive and as we work with our colleagues both at a local, regional and national level we will be able to share with you more fully our progress when we are advised we can do so.

Importantly for our patients, we have continued to invest in secondary buildings on the current site which will remain as part of a new QEH complex. This is to ensure that the full benefit of new services is on offer to patients both today and after the doors of our new hospital open.

So far, more than £50million has been invested in modernising projects since 2021. Examples include our Endoscopy Unit and West Norfolk Eye Centre. Construction continues on the Diagnostic Centre, which will open later this year. This is a long-term investment, in developing resources which will continue to benefit our patients for many years to come. We simply cannot stand still and wait for 2030 - we are fully invested in the continuous improvement of the services we offer, which all our patients and the community we serve need and deserve.

We know just how much The QEH means to the people of West Norfolk and the extent of the enthusiasm and passion for our new hospital within our local community. We are confident that the current site remains the best option for patients and helps ensure the future of acute medical services in the area.

The community want to see it open its doors without further delay and that is why we are progressing with our plan, to deliver a great new facility for our patients across West Norfolk, South Lincs and North Cambs, making best use of all the other new facilities we have already built and continue to invest in.

If you want to hear more about plans for our new QEH and the work on our current site we will be hosting a number of public sessions throughout June. Visit www.newqeh.org.uk for all the dates and venues.

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