Where were you when you heard fantastic news about hospital?

• James Wild, MP for North West Norfolk, writes for the Lynn News, June 2:

Where were you when you heard the fantastic news that QEH is now one of the new hospitals the government is committed to building by 2030?

Judging by conversations in recent days, the viewing figures for Parliament Live must have surged as people tuned in to hear the Health Secretary’s statement on new hospitals.

King's Lynn Queen Elizabeth Hospital
King’s Lynn Queen Elizabeth Hospital

This announcement is a huge vote of confidence in West Norfolk and will see hundreds of millions of pounds invested in the latest facilities to deliver better care with huge benefits for patients, staff, and the local community.

But more than that it is a momentous decision that will help make the area an even better place to live and work and combined with developments such as the government’s £25 million Lynn Town Deal there are exciting times ahead.

As I sat in the House of Commons waiting for the announcement, I knew in a few moments there would be public confirmation that the campaign for a new hospital had succeeded. It’s been a long road.

James Wild MP and QEH deputy CEO Laura Skaife-Knight
James Wild MP and QEH deputy CEO Laura Skaife-Knight

Securing a new hospital has been my priority since the general election and after three and half years I’m delighted the compelling case has been accepted. This has only been possible due to great campaign support from the local community, QEH, other MPs, councils, and through local press coverage.

Walking around QEH on Friday there was a real buzz. Like many people my emotions were a mixture of relief and immense delight and I know many had a tear in their eye as they watched the announcement. To go from not featuring on the new hospitals list to now being a priority scheme in the over £20 billion new hospitals programme is a real turnaround story.

Despite frustration at how long it was taking, I was always confident we would get the decision – from my first speech in Parliament, through questions, debates, ministerial visits to QEH, and media interviews I’ve made the case to the Prime Minister, Health Secretaries, and Chancellor. At all times I have been able to point to invaluable local support including 15,000 people signing a petition.

James Wild
James Wild

The new hospital will be based on a new Hospital 2.0 concept using standardised designs for inpatient wards, A&E, operating theatres, and other areas.

By using modern methods of construction new hospitals can be built more quickly and at reduced cost – with efficiencies of up to 25 per cent.

This is very important given that nine of the last 10 new hospitals built have been late and over budget and lessons from previous builds need to be learned to avoid delays and cost increases during construction. QEH will be built using Hospital 2.0 principles tailored to local needs to deliver a hospital making use of the latest technology, digital innovation, and sustainability.

Now we have the decision everyone wanted, I will work with the QEH, the NHS, and the government to progress the plans to deliver a new hospital that patients, staff, and our community deserve with its doors opening by 2030.