MP pleads in Commons for crumbling Norfolk hospital to be rebuilt

James Wild, North West Norfolk MP. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

James Wild, North West Norfolk MP. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

A Norfolk MP has urged the government to consider adding the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to the list of hospitals being rebuilt.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild spoke in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, asking his colleagues to consider adding King's Lynn’s QEH to the other schemes getting money.

It comes after patients had to move out of the QEH’s critical care unit because the roof was so dangerous. 

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, has 131 props keeping up its roof.

An example of one of the 131 props in place around the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, including its kitchen and Rudham ward. - Credit: QEH

Mr Wild said he welcomed the £20m of new funding this year to deal with the most immediate issues, but added the need was greater than just propping up the roof.

He added: "The trust estimates it will cost £554 million over the next decade to just manage the risks – not improve the situation.

"In contrast, it has developed a strong case for investment to transform the hospital to meet modern healthcare requirements, deliver healthier lives, harness innovation and technology at better value for money.

"Other 'Best Buy' hospitals are on the list and QEH has a compelling case to be one of the eight additional schemes that the prime minister has committed to.

"The need is obvious. So I urge the government to back our bid to deliver the hospital that patients and staff deserve."

A prop holding up the roof at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

An example of one of the 131 props in place around the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, including its kitchen and Rudham ward. - Credit: QEH

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The QEH, which was built in 1980 was designed to last 30 years. Surveyors have inspected 40pc of the concrete planks on its roof. Of the 3,156 looked at 165 are what the hospital calls “defective”. 

It needs £554m just to maintain its decaying building, or £679m for a new building

However, last October the hospital was not selected as one of 27 in the country which will be rebuilt, meaning there is no date for when or if it will be replaced.

That prompted this newspaper to launch the Rebuild the QEH campaign and petition which has had more than 6,200 signatures.

Mr Wild asked if the secretary of state could update the house on when the selection criteria for those schemes will be issued and asked him once again to "come to QEH to see the situation for himself".

Timeline

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, where staff could soon be given home testing kits for Covid-19 - Credit: Ian Burt

1980: QEH opens

2016: QEH identifies problems with concrete planks on its roof

2018: The collapse of a school roof in Essex causes an alert in the construction industry for buildings with Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) planks. These concrete planks were used on roofs in the 1960s-80s on lots of public buildings, including the West Suffolk Hospital, QEH and James Paget. It prompts all hospitals to carry out further checks on their roofs 

June 2020: In response to a question from North West Norfolk MP James Wild, Boris Johnson says “long term solutions” for the QEH are “under active consideration”

October 2020: QEH not named as one of the hospitals to get funding. Meanwhile, James Paget and West Suffolk which were built at similar time at similar construction are given a share of £100m in funding to develop their cases for a rebuild. 

January 2021: More steel props added to the QEH roof, including its maternity unit 

March 2021: The hospital declares a critical incident over its roof which causes the cancellation of some services 

March 2021: EDP launches “Rebuild the QEH” campaign which 6,225 people have now signed

May 2021: Mr Hancock refuses to say when or if the QEH will be given money for a rebuild

-Sign the petition for a new QEH here

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