The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn made national headlines recently for all the wrong reasons.
Due to the hospital’s appalling state of repair, it has been reported that staff know exactly where to place buckets, to deal with the leaks from the failing roof should it rain.
Karon Strong, the head of nursing for medicine, told the BBC that staff knew “exactly where the buckets would need to go to catch water when rain was forecast. As you can imagine, if you’re a patient lying in a bed, and looking up, it’s really quite a frightening experience for the patient.”
The Hospital, which was built in 1980 with a projected lifespan of 30 years, now is 42 years old and needs repairs to such an extent the Trust operating it has asked local residents to add their voices to calls for a new building,
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is a RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) Hospital, built in 1980 and designed to last 30 years.
The Local Government Association indicates that RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete used primarily in roof construction in the UK from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s, although recent construction examples date back to the 1990s. The limited durability of RAAC roofs has long been known. However, recent experience at the hospital, which includes two roof failures with little or no warning suggests the problem may be more serious than previously appreciated.
The trust that operates the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is aware of the fact that RAAC is present. These roofs are not easily repaired or replaced, prompting the need for a new building to be considered as a realistic and cost effective option.
In fact, never has the phrase “Support the NHS” been so poignant.
Caroline Shaw CBE, Chief Executive at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust said: “With 1,528 steel and timber support props in 56 areas, QEH has almost three times more props than beds. We are the most propped hospital in the country. Building a new QEH is the only long-term solution to solving the significant challenges we face, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone in our local community, and further afield, for their ongoing support.”
“Everyone in the area knows someone who was born, cared for, has given birth or who works at QEH. We know the hospital means a great deal to our local community and that they are reassured that the hospital is here in King’s Lynn if they ever need it. We are extremely keen to listen and share the thoughts, feelings, and views of our community as to why a new QEH is so vital for them personally.
“The more people’s experiences we can share, for example, on our website, in our campaigning materials and in presentations to our partners, the more we can really demonstrate how desperately we need a new QEH in King’s Lynn.”
To add your voice to the calls for a new hospital, or if you are in Kings Lynn, to share what Queen Elizabeth Hospital means to you, and share why a new hospital in King’s Lynn is important, please visit their website.
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