The Government recently announced its £20 billion New Hospitals Programme; in it, two Eastern hospitals are set to be rebuilt by 2030.
Both Queen Elizabeth King’s Lynn (QEH) in Norfolk and Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire are set to be replaced with new state-of-the-art facilities as part of the new scheme.
At present, Queen Elizabeth King’s Lynn is supported by over 4,300 props and girders to prevent its roof from collapsing.
It is now going to be replaced, having been originally constructed with RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) planks in the 1970s, with an expected life of 30 years.
Plans for a £862 million replacement have been drawn up, set to be built on what is currently the QEH’s main car park.
Work is set to begin this summer on a new multi-storey car park near the hospital’s main Gayton Road entrance, to make way for the new build.
It will be 30 per cent larger than the current 500-bed QEH, to cope with growing demand as the population it serves expands.
Senior managers of the hospital said the new hospital would take a number of years to go through the planning process and the earliest they expected it to be open was 2029.
Hinchingbrooke Hospital opened in 1983 and serves the Huntingdonshire area and the Fens.
Also constructed from RAAC, the main hospital building is now coming to the end of its operational life and work is ongoing to reinforce the roof.
Work is already underway on the Bay Tree and Jasmine wards and a new theatre building is on track to receive its first patients by the end of the year. Also included in the theatre building are new pathology and pharmacy services which will also serve the main hospital when completed.
Alice Webster, chief executive of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been added to the new hospitals’ programme.
“This crucial announcement means we can move at a pace to bring a much-needed new hospital to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.
“It’s excellent news for our patients, the communities we serve and every person in Team QEH and I want to express our immense gratitude to all who have supported us in getting to this crucial stage.
“Our campaign for a new hospital united us all and I am delighted that we have achieved this result together.”
South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss said: “I’d like to thank the Health Secretary for listening to our representations in West Norfolk and announcing a new build for the Queen Elizabeth in King’s Lynn.
“As he knows, the hospital is in a poor state, parts of it are being held up by stilts and the concrete is crumbling. This announcement will come as a huge relief to local residents and will be extremely welcome.”
Norfolk County Council leader Kay Mason Billig said: “The need for investment in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been clear for some time, and we’ve been in regular correspondence with ministers urging them to prioritise the replacement of the QEH.
“I welcome today’s announcement and the news that ministers have come to see the urgency of this issue.”
Terry Parish, leader of West Norfolk council, said: “This is a much-awaited and welcome announcement. We value the work that the executive team, previous leader, councillor Rust and all the residents of West Norfolk have put in to ensure our case was strong and compelling.”
Following the news about Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon, said: “Today’s announcement is a hugely significant milestone in the campaign for a new Hinchingbrooke hospital to meet the needs of Huntingdonshire’s growing population.
“The existing core original buildings of Hinchingbrooke are being operated way beyond their planned lifespan, and new builds are unavoidable to keep the hospital open.
“This decision is going to dramatically improve the health and lives of thousands of my constituents. This is very good news indeed.
“I am thrilled that the Health Secretary, who as a Cambridgeshire MP himself knows the issues here very well, has listened to and taken onboard the concerns of local stakeholders.
“I know that my constituents will welcome his decisive action to grasp the nettle and deliver for residents.
“Whilst there is a long way to go until the new hospital building is open and supporting patients, I know that both I and others involved – including neighbouring Cambridgeshire MPs and the North West Anglia NHS Trust – will work closely with the Government to help ensure it is delivered on time.”
Caroline Walker, chief executive of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital, said: “This is fantastic news not only for our local communities regarding their future health services, but also for our staff, who have been working hard to deliver quality care from buildings that have not been up to standard for many years.
“These are exciting times for everyone in our local community and we look forward to continuing to involve local stakeholders and our communities as we develop our plans for the Hinchingbrooke Hospital of 2030.”
Jan Thomas, chief executive officer at NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, said: “Being able to build a new hospital from scratch is a fantastic opportunity.
“We are looking forward to working with partners and our local community on, to develop the right space to provide health and care services that meet the needs of our local people both now and in the future.”
Cllr Sarah Conboy, the executive leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: “The hospital is key in ensuring that as our district grows, we are able to meet the needs of those who are live and work here.
“Like many others, my family have used the hospital and I am grateful for the care they have provided.
“The redevelopment will address the building concerns that have been expressed over the years, will give staff the space they need to work well, and will provide patient care in a high-quality setting.”
The other hospitals included in the announcement were Airedale in West Yorkshire, Mid Cheshire Leighton in Cheshire and Frimley Park in Surrey.
© Eastern Echo (powered by ukpropertyforums.com).
Sign up to receive our weekly free journal, The Forum here.