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King's Lynn public meeting to discuss Queen Elizabeth Hospital concerns

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A public meeting is to be held amid rising concerns about Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the delays in announcing the shortlisted hospital for funding.

Community campaigners and concerned residents will be coming together on Friday, 7.30pm, at the South Lynn Community Centre, to discuss the lack of an announcement revealing which of the 100 hospitals, who submitted expressions of interest for a new building, have successfully made it on to the shortlist.

The meeting, organised by Independent Borough Councillor and Trades Council Secretary, Jo Rust, has been called so that the public can ask questions and put forward suggestions about the issue.

QEH entrance. (56633143)
QEH entrance. (56633143)

Invited speakers are Alex Kemp, Independent county councillor for Clenchwarton and Lynn South, James Wild North-West Norfolk MP, Rob Colwell, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Gaywood and Pallavi Devulapalli GP. There will also be a representative from UNISON.

The announcement of which hospitals had successfully made it to the next stage of the funding process was originally due to be made last autumn.

It was further pushed back until after local elections held in May.

NHS Compaingers at King's Lynn Town High Street speaking of concerns regarding the NHS and their own QEH Hospital. Pictured in front Jo Rust with Campainers.. (55132663)
NHS Compaingers at King's Lynn Town High Street speaking of concerns regarding the NHS and their own QEH Hospital. Pictured in front Jo Rust with Campainers.. (55132663)

Organiser and Springwood borough councillor Jo Rust said: "We’ve had so many questions from concerned residents about the QEH and the number of props stopping the roof falling in.

"We know that the Government has taken their eye off the ball and our ailing NHS estate isn’t their priority. But it is ours.

"The cost of living crisis actually makes it even harder for the public if they are forced to go to Addenbrooke's or the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for treatment. as that will mean even more costs that haven’t been budgeted for and can’t be afforded.

Rob Colwell (55916499)
Rob Colwell (55916499)

"We need a local hospital to serve our local population. We say no more delays, no more prevarication. Fully fund a new build now."

Campaigners who attended the rally in parliament and met with James Wild and Duncan Baker MPs, in April, were assured that the announcement would finally be made immediately after the local elections on May 3.

Ms Rust said: "However nothing had been heard and the delay comes at a time when the government is facing serious issues with over 120 fines issued over party-gate, a cost of living crisis which is pushing families into poverty and debt and the fall out over Brexit and the Ireland Protocol.

"Fears are that all these will take the importance of the local hospital, propped up with 1528 support props, off the agenda.

"If the announcement is made prior to the meeting, it will give the public the chance to participate in the community campaign and give ideas and suggestions for how the group can keep up the pressure and make sure the QEH, King’s Lynn makes it on to the final list. "

Mr Colwell said: "The community are scared and want answers for the continuing delay.

"Their fear is understandable give the lack of trust in this government and a mounting list of broken promises.

"This community meeting will loudly show that the QEH and West Norfolk must not be forgotten.

"How many more emergency struts are needed before the urgency of the situation is realised by those in power?"

Gordon Taylor, UNISON rep, said: " The staff at the QEH, have faced enormous pressures over the last two years of the pandemic.

"They continue to work in a hospital whose roof is being held up by in excess of 1500 props.

"UNISON believes this to be totally unacceptable, and asks that the government make a decision on a new hospital, not later this year, but now."

Mr Devulapalli said: "Healthcare workers deserve a safe place of work as do patients.

Weather events are predicted to get more extreme, a robust new-build hospital is essential to withstand all types of weather so that patients and staff feel secure.

"The Government must find the money to do this asap.

"As taxpayers, we have no greater need than a future-proof hospital in West Norfolk.

"Any delay on making a decision could cost us dearly, in injuries or worse- a cost that none of us are prepared to pay."

There will also be the option of attending the meeting via zoom for those who are unable to attend in person.

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