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‘We’re working hard to make new King’s Lynn Queen Elizabeth Hospital a reality by 2030,’ says CEO Alice Webster

In her monthly Ward Round column, CEO Alice Webster talks about the ongoing plans for a new hospital…

As I write my final column of 2023, I am reflecting on the progress we have made this year as a trust. A new hospital announcement, an ongoing safety programme of work to maintain our current building, expansion and development of our services and enhanced training offering for our students and staff - to name a few. We’ve come a long way in 12 months.

I know there’s speculation around the New Hospital Programme both nationally and locally around the timelines we face to undertake this once-in-a-generation project. Please be assured that we have a dedicated New QEH team, who are working hard across all areas of the Trust, as well as with stakeholders, to enable us to keep plans on track. Our aim remains the same as when we began this journey - to open the doors to a new hospital by 2030. We are continuing to work closely with the national New Hospital Programme team to achieve this.

QEH CEO Alice Webster (centre) says everyone is working hard to make a new hospital a reality
QEH CEO Alice Webster (centre) says everyone is working hard to make a new hospital a reality

I reported last time that we are awaiting funding for the new multi-storey car park (MSCP), which is a key enabling project for our New QEH. While we had hoped to have started work this year, we now expect work to commence by 2025. We do not expect this delay to have an impact on the start date for our new hospital and have contingency plans in place.

However, the first part of our MSCP build will be to temporarily relocate our helipad, for which plans are moving forward at pace, with work to prepare the site due to commence in early 2024. The helipad is currently situated on the top end of the hospital site and is a well-used resource. Under new plans, it will be temporarily relocated to farmland to the east of the hospital on the opposite side of the road along the B1145 and should be operational in summer 2024.

Work to maintain the safety of our current site continues to be a priority and our estates team is working hard to undertake a huge amount of work whilst allowing our services to run as normal. Earlier this month we began an 18-month project to survey and maintain the Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) wall planks. A team of specialist structural engineers will be undertaking the work, whereby the re-enforced steel bar within each wall panel will be exposed to allow zinc anodes to be inserted, then recovered and painted. This is very different to our roof fail-safing projects, and the work will create a level of noise and dust – we are doing our utmost to reduce the disruption this causes to our patients and staff. The work will take place on the outside walls of our main building and move around the hospital.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is attending our site now and in the future for the inconvenience this causes you. We will do everything we can to minimise the disruption, however if you see something we might do better, please do let us know.

Finally, I’d like to remind all our residents to please try to keep warm and well this winter. Look after those individuals in your life who may be more vulnerable to winter viruses and ensure you are well-stocked on medication ahead of the festive season. Our emergency services are there if you need them – but please be mindful that winter is a typically very busy period across the NHS as a whole so please use the NHS-111 service where needed. They will be able to direct you to the most appropriate service to support you.

May I take this opportunity on behalf of Team QEH to wish you all a very happy and healthy festive season, and we look forward to seeing many of you in the New Year at a new round of engagement sessions.

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