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A new Queen Elizabeth Hospital

A new QEH for King’s Lynn and West Norfolk would deliver a sea change in health and care for our local communities in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, and Lincolnshire.

The simple truth is that our buildings are in a desperate state and have reached the end of their life. We now have 1,528 steel and timber support props in 56 areas of the hospital. This is almost three times more props than beds and we believe we are the most propped hospital in the country.

A new hospital that is fit for the future will enable us to provide outstanding care in world-class facilities and meet the demands of our growing and ageing population. We want to become the best rural District General Hospital for patient and staff experience and a new hospital is central to achieving this ambition.

We are taking proactive steps to maximise safety at our hospital. This includes a rolling programme of onsite surveys and maintenance as well as receiving £20.6m emergency national capital investment in facilities for 2021/22 that will modernise QEH, including the installation of failsafes (to reduce the risk of RAAC plank failures) which will improve the safety and delivery of some services. The final element of our approach is doing what is necessary to have a fit for the future hospital that our patients and staff deserve.

In the longer-term we are determined to attract significant national capital funding to bring a new hospital to King's Lynn and West Norfolk, which is nothing less than our patients and staff deserve.

If we manage to secure the funding and are confirmed as one of the Government’s eight new hospital schemes, it will take a number of years to go through the necessary planning and approvals process and build the hospital. The very earliest we would expect the new hospital to open its doors would be 2029.

As a RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) hospital, QEH will continue to need significant annual investment and it will be crucial that we continue to invest in our hospital during this time to make sure we provide the best care and experience we can for our patients, their families and staff.

New Hospital – Trust Board agrees preferred way forward

Work has been progressing on the development of our Strategic Outline Case (SOC) for a new hospital. This sets out a robust case for change, and a preferred way forward with associated indicative costs, including how the development would be managed and delivered with clear timescales for completion.

During Winter 2021, we held two workshops with a range of internal and external stakeholders, including Heads of Service and Divisional Leadership Teams, Governors, Non-Executive Directors and Healthwatch Norfolk, patient, staff and partner representation, to review the options for a potential new hospital and to assess all options using clear success criteria informed by local and national measures.

The Trust, with support and input from a range of external stakeholders, formally reviewed and assessed the following shortlist of possible options identified for a potential new hospital:

  • a single-phase new build hospital on the existing QEH site, expected to be operational in 2029
  • a multi-phase development (part new-build, part refurbishment), expected to be operational in 2033 (at the earliest)
  • considering whether a new hospital would be built on the existing hospital site or elsewhere.

At the Trust Board Meeting on 7 December 2021, the Board approved the preferred option of a single-phase full new build on the existing QEH site based on the technical detail and information presented to them following the completion of these detailed assessments.

This is consistent with our preferred Expression of Interest (EOI) which we submitted to the Department of Health and Social Care in September 2021 alongside an alternative EOI for a multi-phase development (part new-build and part refurbishment) in a bid to become one of eight further new hospital schemes.

Whilst a multi-phase development would provide a scalable option that still delivers some of the benefits and would be a vast improvement on our current estate, a single-phase new build would cost less and deliver much greater benefits. It is also the only solution that meets our deadline, based on national expert opinion, of replacing our hospital by 2030.

This is because our hospital is a RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) hospital, which was built in 1980 and designed to last 30 years. RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete used to manufacture pre-cast planks which have been used to build QEH. These planks are now more than 40 years old and have reached the end of their life.

The Government is committed to eradicating RAAC in hospitals by 2035. Our deadline at QEH, based on national expert opinion, is 2030.

The Trust’s Expressions of Interest have been reviewed and considered by the NHS regionally ahead of a decision nationally by the Department of Health and Social Care. We remain confident we have a very strong case. 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 later in the year.

Work now continues to complete the SOC which remains on track to be completed and considered by the Board in June this year.

Proposed site development 'masterplan' for a new hospital on current site

The proposed site development ‘masterplan’ for a new hospital that would be built on the current site (our preferred option) can be seen in the image below:

QEH Site Masterplan

Thank you for supporting the petition for a new Queen Elizabeth Hospital

The UK Government and Parliament e-petition to show support to bring a much-needed new hospital to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk has now closed (7 January 2022). The petition is automatically closed by the petition’s office, in line with all other parliamentary petitions, after a six-month period.

We are delighted that the petition 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. Our hospital is very fortunate to receive such fantastic ongoing support from our local community, partners, and stakeholders and we would like to thank everyone who promoted the petition and took the time to sign – whether it was the e-petition or a community-led paper-based petition.

We are continuing to do all we can to secure the funding we badly need to bring a new hospital to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk - and remain clear that a new hospital is the only long-term sustainable solution to the challenges we face.

A new hospital will enable us to provide outstanding care in world-class facilities – and help us to become a centre of excellence for frailty and stroke, day surgery and regional anaesthesia, research and innovation, and same day emergency care. It will meet the demands of our growing and ageing population and support our ambition of becoming the best rural District General Hospital for patient and staff experience.

The Trust’s Expressions of Interest for a new hospital have been reviewed and considered by the NHS regionally ahead of a decision nationally by the Department of Health and Social Care. We remain confident we have an extremely strong case. 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 later in the year.

If you would like to receive regular updates about the progress to secure funding for a new hospital and how we are modernising our hospital in the meantime, please email us at communicationsqeh@qehkl.nhs.uk and we will add you to our email list.

You can also keep updated on all our developments by continuing to visit our website. If you have any questions about our work, please get in touch by emailing us at the address above.

For information about work happening to modernise our hospital, click here.

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