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Queen Elizabeth hospital in King's Lynn has 'more steel props than beds' and buckets are being used by nurses to catch rainfall on wards

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Staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital(QEH) in Lynn are calling on local people to add their voices to growing calls for a new hospital, which has reached the end of it's life cycle and is held up by 1,528 steel props.

Some of the props are now holding up the ceiling on wards where patients are being treated and staff have been putting out buckets to catch rainfall.

Karon Strong, head of nursing for medicine, said: "Staff knew exactly where the buckets would need to go to catch water when rain was forecast.

Props in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (57181978)
Props in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (57181978)

"It's not what staff want to experience and it's not what the staff want for the patients either.You'll walk down a corridor, you'll walk down a bay and we've got buckets catching water.

"As you can imagine, if you're a patient lying in a bed, and looking up, its really quite a frightening experience for the patient."

The hospital is now the "most propped hospital in the country" and now has more steel props than beds.

A survey had been created so that people who have used the QEH and live in the area can have their say on why the building needs to be modernised for patient and staff safety.

Fill in the survey here to get your voice heard.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is a reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete hospital, built in 1980 and designed to last 30 years. It is now more than 40 years old and has reached the end of its life.

Caroline Shaw, Chief Executive at the QEH said: “With 1,528 steel and timber support props in 56 areas, QEH has almost three times more props than beds. We are the most propped hospital in the country.

“Building a new QEH is the only long-term solution to solving the significant challenges we face and we are incredibly grateful to everyone in our local community, and further afield, for their ongoing support.

Caroline Shaw, CBE, CEO of the QEH (57182052)
Caroline Shaw, CBE, CEO of the QEH (57182052)

“Everyone in the area knows someone who was born, cared for, has given birth or who works at QEH. We know the hospital means a great deal to our local community and that they are reassured that the hospital is here in Lynn if they ever need it. We are extremely keen to listen and share the thoughts, feelings and views of our community as to why a new QEH is so vital for them personally.

“The more people’s experiences we can share, for example, on our website, in our campaigning materials and in presentations to our partners, the more we can really demonstrate how desperately we need a new QEH in Lynn.”

Yvonne Bridger lives in Hunstanton with her husband and QEH has been their local hospital for more than ten years. They are backing the QEH’s campaign.

A prop at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn. (56341931)
A prop at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn. (56341931)

Mrs Bridger said: “The care and treatment we’ve received at QEH has been second-to-none – the staff have always been fantastic, professional and caring. But it’s plain to see that the hospital itself is well past its original life expectancy. It’s dated, tired, and the estate really impacts the care they are able to give their patients.

“A fit-for-purpose hospital is the very least local people can expert of a modern-day health service. With every day that passes with no further news on funding, staff, patients and local people are facing increasing uncertainty. It affects the lives of tens of thousands of people across Northwest Norfolk, as well as those in neighbouring Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire who depend on QEH.

“We need a safe, modern, local hospital providing core services to our communities – we’re not asking for an increase in provision, we’re simply saying we need and deserve a new hospital building before the current one, literally, falls down around us.

“The thought of having to trek more than 40 miles each way to Cambridge or Norwich for diagnosis and treatment is incredibly unsettling. It simply won’t be possible for many, many people. There is a real urgency to the situation now and we are worried that progress on any positive announcement on funding seems to have stalled completely.

“QEH fulfils such a vital role – not just for the people of King’s Lynn but for all the neighbouring towns, villages, people, and families. All of us have a right to peace of mind: to know that there will be an up-to-date hospital – with modern facilities and offering a complete range of care, services and treatments – when we need it.”

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