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Over 1,500 props now holding up King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital roof, councillors told

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The number of props holding up the roof of Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital has soared to more than 1,500, it emerged yesterday.

The shocking figure was revealed as West Norfolk councillors reaffirmed their support for a rebuild of the Gayton Road site and demanded a swift Government decision on its bid.

A motion on the issue was passed at a borough council meeting in Lynn's Corn Exchange, only hours after the hospital announced it had been formally lifted out of special measures.

South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss, left, sees the problems in the QEH's Necton ward for herself (56268589)
South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss, left, sees the problems in the QEH's Necton ward for herself (56268589)

Independent councillor Alexandra Kemp told members the situation had worsened significantly since she tabled the original motion.

At that point, the QEH was known to have 470 wooden or steel props in place – a figure which itself had more than doubled since last November.

But Miss Kemp said senior hospital managers had told her the total had rocketed to 1,528.

The current state of the QEH roof, held up by steel beams (53706865)
The current state of the QEH roof, held up by steel beams (53706865)

She said: "This motion is probably one of the most important we can ever debate in this chamber.

"We need to reaffirm our support today for all the QE is doing."

Council leader Stuart Dark proposed an amendment, which was accepted by Miss Kemp, calling for central government to "make a positive announcement" on the QEH's bid "at the very earliest opportunity".

Mr Dark said there was no political division on the issue and the council's previous interventions had already been referenced by both the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, and junior minister Edward Arger in recent discussions.

King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (47772789)
King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (47772789)

He added: "A new modern 21st century hospital, capable of facilitating high quality patient care is the only viable solution, what is needed and what all those in West Norfolk wish for and deserve."

Jo Rust, who led a group of campaigners lobbying MPs at Westminster on the issue last week, said it was important that members showed a united front.

But she suggested it had already become a political issue, because of moves to delay an announcement until after next week's local elections.

She also highlighted a report by the Health Service Journal which suggested a decision is likely to be delayed even further.

She added: "All the time the situation is worsening for the staff and patients."

Independent group deputy leader Sandra Squire said she found the latest update "quite frightening" and wondered about the effect of a new motion, given that the council passed a previous motion supporting the QEH's bid last summer.

She asked: "Would we all be willing to sit here if there were props holding the roof up over our head? I don't think we would.

"It frightens me that our government take this so lightly and delay it and delay it and delay it.

"This hospital would have fallen down if it were not for those props. That is disgraceful."

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