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Modernising The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

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We are delighted to have been added to the Government's New Hospital Programme and look forward to bringing a new QEH to King's Lynn and West Norfolk by 2030.

Although we have now secured funding and been added to the Government's New Hospital Programme, we know it will take a number of years to go through the necessary planning and approvals process and building works, and the very earliest we would expect the new hospital to open its doors would be 2030. We will therefore continue to invest national capital to maximise the safety and compliance of our current hospital. This includes completing the installation of failsafes across our buildings to minimise the risk of plank failures, and significantly modernising the hospital through a number of investments which will further improve the experience of patients, their families and staff. All of these investments fit with our hugely exciting new hospital plans.

To read more about the work to bring a new hospital to King's Lynn and West Norfolk, visit our New Hospital Website.

Investing in our estate, facilities and digital infrastructure is key to achieveing our vision to be the best rural District General Hospital for patient and staff experience. The following exciting projects demonstrate how we are significantly modernising our hospital, and in turn, further improving the experience of our patients, their families and staff.

Diagnostic Assessment Centres - project given the green light

A project to create new outpatient imaging buildings at each of the three hospitals in Norfolk and Waveney has been given the green light by the Department of Health and Social Care and will see £85.9 million capital invested, the largest investment in the region for over 20 years.

The new facilities will be based at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the James Paget University Hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Each of the sites will house MRI and CT scanners as well as X-ray and Ultrasound imaging. These are used for diagnosis and monitoring of a very wide range of conditions, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, trauma, musculoskeletal diseases, neurology and, most recently, COVID-19.

Newly refurbished Same Day Emergency Care Unit opens to patients

Our newly extended Same Day Emergency Care Unit (SDEC) opened its doors to welcome patients on Monday 30 January 2023.

The refurbished department, which was a £2 million investment funded through the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System, allows for more patients needing urgent and emergency care to be treated on the same day. It will also reduce pressure on our Emergency Department and improve ambulance handover times.

New state-of-the-art Endoscopy Unit opens

The new state-of the-art £12.5m Endoscopy Unit officially opened to patients on Wednesday 21 September 2022.

Using digital design and new innovations and technology to improve patient care and experience, the new facility is a ‘digital’ flagship for QEH and has set the precedent for what a new Queen Elizabeth Hospital could look like.

New ambulance handover area for our Emergency Department

At our Board meeting on 1 August 2022, £1.76m of capital funding was approved to expand our Emergency Department (ED) including the creation of a new ambulance handover area.

This will help to reduce long ambulance waits, allowing ambulances to get back on the road more swiftly; and will enable patients to be seen and clinically assessed more quickly, improving patient safety and experience and reducing overcrowding in ED.

New Maternity Ward opens

A brand new, purpose-designed, Maternity Ward opened at QEH on Monday 11 July 2022, following the complete refurbishment and redesign of the hospital's Brancaster Ward.

The work, which included removing and relocating all the internal walls, allowed for a redesign that meets the needs of parents-to-be and the hospital's maternity team. Importantly, it maximises safety as part of our ongoing work to install failsafes in areas of QEH made from RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete).

New West Norfolk Eye Centre opens

A brand new, £3 million West Norfolk Eye Centre opens to patients at QEH on Monday 9 May. Located next to the Emerson Unit, the eye centre has its own entrance and signage, and can also be accessed through the main QEH building.

Having a dedicated Ophthalmology outpatient facility for the first time will enable the team to relocate from the main QEH Outpatient department. This not only provides a specialist space for patients with eye conditions, it also frees up valuable Outpatient space for other specialties in the main building.

Diagnostic Assessment Centres - Plans Submitted

Planning applications for three new Diagnostic Assessment Centres (DACs) to be built adjacent to the three existing hospital sites, have been submitted to local councils.

The centres will provide capacity to support patients and healthcare staff in the rapid diagnosis of disease, with a view to reducing waiting lists, including those related to cancer diagnosis.

New outpatient facility called The Emerson Unit open

Our new outpatient unit, named the Emerson Unit, opened in January 2022. It provides an enhanced environment and a better experience for patients, their families and staff and brings together outpatient services across antenatal care, obstetric ultrasound, and pregnancy day assessment unit, as well as our pain management service, gynaecology, rheumatology and urology teams.

We recognise that parking is currently limited near the new unit. We are aiming to offer more parking closer to the unit from late April. In the meantime, there is a drop-off point at the front of the unit and parking spaces next to the unit for those with a disability and blue badge.

Bidding for Elective Surgical Hub funding

We are bidding for national capital funding to support the development of an elective surgical hub on site to enable us to treat more patients more quickly, supporting elective recovery. Whilst initially focused on Orthopaedics, the hub will enable us to flexibly use our capacity to meet demand. If successful, we anticipate the hub being operational in early 2024.

Electronic Patient and Observations and Bed Management System Investment

The Trust Board has approved £4m capital investment in an electronic patient and observations and bed management system (POMS), also known as Electronic Observations (e-Obs). This will help to improve patient care by enabling clinicians to log their patient observations digitally allowing quicker clinical decisions to be taken, provide secure mobile clinical messaging to medical and nursing staff, improving patient safety and outcomes and support bed management enabling a more efficient use of resources.

More projects to reduce waiting lists and treat more patients begin

In December 2021, we were delighted to be awarded £12.9m revenue funding – the largest award given to a Trust in the East of England – from the Government’s national fund to support health and care systems to work collaboratively to restore elective services against a backdrop of unprecedented demand due to Covid.

A number of projects funded from this award are being taken forward which will enable us to treat more patients requiring services such as tests and scans, outpatient appointments, and routine surgery such as hip replacements and eye cataract surgery.

Implementing a new way of preparing patients for surgery

Along with James Paget University Hospital and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, we have received funding from NHSx to implement a digital system that will transform how patients are prepared for surgery.

Known as MyPreOP, this innovative technology will allow patients from the comfort of their own home to share their health information with clinicians remotely rather than coming into hospital for an appointment.

Pre-assessing patients digitally allows clinicians to prepare patients for surgery and support them to be in the best possible condition for their procedure. The new system will allow patients to prepare for surgery far sooner than traditionally has been possible and this preparation both physically and mentally reduces the risk of complications and helps to improve patients’ wellbeing. The technology will reduce the number of patients that need to come to hospital for pre-assessment, and for those that do need face-to-face appointments, the focus will be on optimising patients’ health in readiness for surgery rather than spending time on routine questions.

This new way of working across the three Trusts in Norfolk will enable patients (if they choose to) having gone through the pre-assessment process to be allocated to a theatre at any one Trust that has capacity, enabling theatres to be used more efficiently, and patients to be treated as soon as possible.