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Hospital building crisis must be solved, MPs warn new Health Secretary

todayJune 29, 2021 1

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Structural problems affecting Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital must be fixed because current measures don’t offer value for money, a group of MPs has warned.

Seven Parliamentarians – from Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire – have signed a letter to the new Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, urging him to include the site in the Government’s new hospital building programme.

The move follows fears from some campaigners that progress made in the fight for a new hospital could be lost following the resignation of Mr Javid’s predecessor, Matt Hancock.

Ambulances outside the QEH at Kings Lynn. (48329750)
Ambulances outside the QEH at Kings Lynn. (48329750)

Mr Hancock quit on Saturday – just eight days after visiting the QEH – over his relationship with a departmental aide.

And the letter invites Mr Javid to Lynn to see the work of the hospital and the scale of the problem with its roof, which is currently being held up by around 200 steel props, for himself.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild said today: “QEH has a compelling case to be one of the new hospital schemes and from raising this in Parliament and other campaigning activity so far there is recognition of the seriousness of the situation across government.

The new Health Secretary Sajid Javid, seen here with MP James Wild during a visit to King's Lynn in 2019, has been invited to visit the QEH.
The new Health Secretary Sajid Javid, seen here with MP James Wild during a visit to King’s Lynn in 2019, has been invited to visit the QEH.

“With other MPs whose constituents are treated at QEH and the support of local community, now we are making that case to Sajid Javid to deliver the hospital that patients and staff need.”

Both Mr Wild and his South West Norfolk counterpart Liz Truss have signed the letter, along with three of their county colleagues – Duncan Baker, George Freeman and Jerome Mayhew.

The other signatories are the North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Sir John Hayes, who represents South Holland and the Deepings.

The QEH missed out on a place in the Government’s initial list of 40 planned new hospitals, announced last autumn.

Matt Hancock, centre, saw the state of the roof in the QEH's Necton ward just a few days before his resignation.
Matt Hancock, centre, saw the state of the roof in the QEH’s Necton ward just a few days before his resignation.

However, the letter, released this afternoon, says it has been allocated £500,000 towards the preparation of a new bid for a secondary list of eight additional projects. That work is ongoing.

The letter acknowledges the provision of just over £20 million in funding for repair works.

But it also highlights the hospital’s estimates that repairs alone are likely to cost more than £550 million over the next decade.

The MPs added: “Simply propping up the roof does not represent value for money.

“We are all in full support of the QEH’s bid to be one of the further eight new hospitals.”

The MPs said the inclusion of other hospitals with similar construction issues to the QEH acknowledged the problem would only get worse.

But they warned: “A failure to include QEH in the eight additional schemes will inevitably lead to unplanned demand for capital investment in the future.

“We would welcome the opportunity to the discuss a long-term solution for QEH further with you and invite you to visit to West Norfolk to see the tremendous work being done by the staff in the hospital.”

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todayJune 29, 2021 1