Councillor's warning over £9 million loan to King's Lynn hospital
A West Norfolk councillor has warned that the allocation of a multi-million pound loan to Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital could make its financial position even worse.
Earlier this week, the government announced it was lending just over £9 million to the hospital to help fund upgrades to facilities at the Gayton Road site.
Although hospital bosses welcomed the funding, they also admit the trust is operating with a year to date deficit of £12.2 million, slightly below the figure that had been forecast.
And Labour borough councillor Jo Rust says she is worried about the potential implications of the latest loan.
She said: "Of course new money to complete vital repairs is something to be welcomed.
"However, the fact that this is a loan will only serve to worsen the Trust's already precarious financial position.
"This loan wouldn't have been necessary had our hospital received the amount of funding it actually needed to run the services it does and maintain state and equipment.
"It's indicative of the way in which this government views our NHS that they don't believe it's necessary for the state to fund the equipment we need when we're ill and need to go to hospital."
But North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said the would help to relieve “short term pressure” on the hospital.
He said both he and neighbouring MPs had been “disappointed” the hospital did not prominently feature in earlier announcements of new investment in hospitals, even though the QEH is set to have a new diagnostics and assessment centre as part of a £70 million programme for Norfolk’s hospitals announced in August.
He added: “I have been lobbied heavily by the Chairman and Chief Executive of the QEH on both their concerns about the state of the roof and their IT system.
“The QEH is an exceptionally popular local hospital, and has an extremely important role in our local community.
“Indeed, I have no doubt this robust recovery plan will ensure it soon comes out of special measures.”