Take a Hancock Half Hour and join postcard campaign for King's Lynn hospital
People in West Norfolk are being urged to take a Hancock’s Half Hour and help to make the case for urgent renovation and rebuilding of Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Activists are launching a postcard campaign to encourage as many people in the borough as possible to contact the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, directly to press the QEH’s case.
The move was outlined as campaigners from across the political spectrum gathered outside the Gayton Road site on Wednesday afternoon for a fresh protest about the hospital’s condition.
The demonstration came after new documents revealed that dozens more metal props have been installed to support the hospital’s roof in recent weeks.
Papers presented to the hospital’s board this week said a total of 194 props are now being used across the QEH estate.
That’s 63 more than the previously stated figure.
But they also revealed that more than half of the building has still to be assessed by surveyors.
The trust’s risk register said around 45 per cent of the roof has been assessed so far and there is approximately “4-5 months remaining to complete the work.”
Officials from the Lynn and District Trades Council are launching the postcard initiative with the demand: “Give Us A New Hospital Now” in order to take the fight directly to Mr Hancock’s desk in Westminster.
The group’s secretary, Jo Rust, said the condition of the QEH is already far worse than many of the sites which have been included in the government’s list of proposed new hospitals and the area has been consistently let down over many years.
She said: “We look at some of the hospitals that have been put on the new build list with only eight props.
“Why is it that ours is literally falling down already and we still don’t have that decision?
“This is why local people need to lobby, to make sure it’s on everyone’s radar.
“If we get enough of those landing on his desk, he’s not going to forget us, because we know those that shout loudest, get it.”
West Norfolk Liberal Democrats chairman Rob Colwell said he was even more worried about the hospital’s condition following the revelations.
He said: “We’ve got a family member at the moment currently in the hospital.
“When you’re worrying about them, you don’t want to be worrying about whether the hospital is going to collapse.
“What upsets me even further, is even if the QEH is lucky enough to get funding, we’re looking at 2025 to 2030.
“We shouldn’t be waiting nine years. It always just feels like West Norfolk is kind of forgotten about.”
The latest campaign moves come after the government announced last week that details of the criteria under which the QEH can bid for a place on an additional list of eight planned new hospitals would be released in the coming weeks.
A senior civil servant also admitted recently that the QEH’s condition was “a matter of concern” to the Department of Health.
But Mrs Rust said that, while stakeholders are coming together now to make the hospital's case, much more should have been done to fight its corner much earlier.
She said: “We need to exert pressure from every area.
“What we know from experience is that in order to get anything changed, you need to shout about it. You need to lobby and that didn’t happen.”
Postcards are currently available by emailing email@example.com