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New King's Lynn Queen Elizabeth Hospital outpatient department Emerson Unit opened

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A very Happy New Year to you all. I want to start my first column of 2022 by saying how grateful I am to all of our staff for going above and beyond as our hospital continues to be extremely busy as we care for more patients.

To help us, if you need care and don’t have life threatening symptoms, please call NHS 111 or access it online. They will help you to find the best place and option for treatment based on your symptoms.

If you are eligible for a first or second vaccine or a booster jab please do have it when it’s your turn. This is the best way you can protect both yourself and loved ones from becoming seriously ill and requiring hospital treatment.

New Emerson Unit QEH.
New Emerson Unit QEH.

In December and January we welcomed our regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to inspect our hospital and assess our progress. We look forward to receiving our report over the coming months.

Turning to the work underway to modernise our hospital, I’m delighted to confirm that the Emerson Unit, our new outpatient department on the QEH site, opened earlier this month. It brings together our outpatient services across antenatal care, obstetric ultrasound and pregnancy day assessment unit, as well as our pain management service and gynaecology, rheumatology and urology teams, providing a better experience for patients, their families and staff.

Work has started to refurbish the West Dereham Ward and convert it into a dementia-friendly care of the elderly ward which will bring the care of the elderly team together in one area of the hospital alongside our West Newton Ward. And Brancaster Ward is being refurbished and converted into a maternity ward. Both wards are due to open in the spring.

Artist's impression of the planned Endoscopy Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Artist's impression of the planned Endoscopy Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Work continues on our new £12.5m state-of-the-art Endoscopy Unit which will modernise our facilities for patients, their families and staff. Between February 7-14, 56 individual ‘modules’, which make up the new building, will be put into position at QEH via a large crane.

The modules have to be lifted over the road before being placed into position. There will be some unavoidable traffic disruption during this time which we hope to keep to a minimum. Thank you in advance and the unit remains on track to open in spring time.

Whilst all the modernisation work will be hugely beneficial, it doesn’t solve our long-term problem that the lifespan of our current buildings, based on national expert opinion, will end in 2030.

Caroline Shaw CBE, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Caroline Shaw CBE, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

This is why we are also focusing on doing all we can to secure the funding we badly need to bring a new hospital to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk – this is the only long-term sustainable solution to the challenges we face.

The Parliamentary e-petition for a new hospital closed on January 7 and we are delighted that it received over 15,500 signatures. This, coupled with a number of community-led paper-based petitions, demonstrates the strength of feeling for a new hospital from our local community. Thank you everyone.

Our hospital is very fortunate to receive such fantastic ongoing support from our local community, partners, local MPs and councillors, and stakeholders and we would like to thank everyone who promoted the petition and took the time to sign.

We expect to find out soon if we have been selected to go through to the next stage of the assessment process for the Government’s New Hospital Programme. A final decision on the further eight new hospital schemes is expected spring time. We remain confident we have a very strong case and will continue to keep you updated on our progress.

For more information about our work, visit www.qehkl.nhs.uk/ and if you have any questions, email communicationsqeh@qehkl.nhs.uk.

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