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James Wild insists there is ‘no scope’ for King’s Lynn hospital rebuild delays despite NHS Providers worries

An MP has once again insisted there is “no scope for delay” in rebuilding Lynn’s hospital despite nationwide worries about soaring costs.

The Government’s flagship programme to build 40 new hospitals has been marred by “delay, indecision and soaring costs”, health leaders across the country have warned.

Those include Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which also needs to have a £42million multi-storey car park constructed before work towards a 2030 deadline can commence.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is being rebuilt - but will it be ready by 2030?
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is being rebuilt - but will it be ready by 2030?

NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, has today said hospitals are footing the bill for delays to the project.

The QEH has at least 4,394 steel and timber support props in 56 areas of the hospital holding up its roof – making it the most propped-up in the country.

Built using reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), the current building has reached the end of its life.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild says there is ‘no scope for delay’ in the project
North West Norfolk MP James Wild says there is ‘no scope for delay’ in the project

Government ministers have said that some hospital projects will now be completed after the expected completion date of 2030.

But NHS Providers said that millions of pounds every month are being “drained from scarce NHS funds” due to delays, with some forking out more than £1million a month.

However, North West Norfolk MP James Wild - who has already played down similar fears in recent months - has again moved to ease people’s worries.

Mr Wild said: “Having campaigned successfully in Parliament to secure the commitment to a new QEH my priority is delivering a new hospital by 2030.

“A few weeks ago, I met the New Hospitals minister and QEH again to review plans and timelines as I know how important it is to give staff, patients, and our community confidence the new hospital will be delivered on time.

“Ministers then confirmed work on the new car park to create space on site for the new hospital is set to start later this year which QEH has said is necessary to meet the hard deadline.

“There’s no scope for delay and I continue to work very closely with the Trust and to press DHSC (Department for Health and Social Care) to ensure we keep on track and get approvals to progress the scheme.”

However, Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “Trust leaders and local people want to see the promise of ‘new hospitals’ honoured. They know these projects can transform services for patients and staff.

“While there has been some welcome progress, the bigger picture is one of delay, indecision and soaring costs which the NHS, taxpayers and patients can ill afford. Trusts urgently need clarity from the Government on funding and next steps.

“But this is one part of a much bigger problem about the scale of underinvestment across the NHS estate. More than 100 trusts applied to join the NHP and the NHS repairs bill is now at a staggering £11.6billion, much of it high risk.

“We cannot afford to let this problem get worse.

“As we head towards a general election, trust leaders want a cast-iron commitment from all political parties to an NHS infrastructure programme that meets the needs of hospitals, mental health, community and ambulance services.”

Patricia Marquis, executive director for the Royal College of Nursing in England, said: “Nursing staff report risks to their own safety and their patients from working in outdated buildings.

“They want to deliver care in safe and modern facilities, not be put under strain by a lack of capacity or crumbling care settings.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We continue to make good progress across our New Hospital Programme, with six new hospitals already open to patients.

“Two more are expected to open by the end of the financial year, and another 18 are under construction or have work ongoing to prepare the sites.

“On top of the expected £20billion for the New Hospital Programme, the Government has invested £4.2billion this financial year to upgrade and modernise NHS buildings so staff have the facilities needed to provide world-class care for patients.

“We have also provided a further £1.7billion for over 70 hospital upgrades across England, alongside a range of nationally funded infrastructure improvements in mental health, urgent and emergency care and diagnostic capacity.

“We are working with each individual scheme on opportunities to progress as quickly as possible.”

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