Queen Elizabeth Hospital: Disgruntled campaigners beg health secretary for new hospital

Campaigners posted the Christmas Card to Steve Barclays office as the MP was not there. Credit: ITV News

Disgruntled campaigners have called on the health secretary to give them "a new hospital for Christmas" after the decision to rebuild the crumbling existing one was delayed.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, Norfolk, is being held up by nearly 3,400 props.

Campaigners from Save our QEH on Saturday visited the office of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and MP for North East Cambridgeshire Steve Barclay to hand him a Christmas card that read "Don't be a Grinch, give us a new hospital for Christmas".

The card, which was delivered to Mr Barclay's constituency office had hundreds of signatures from worried residents.

The card was signed by hundreds of constituents. Credit: ITV News

The campaigners held banners that read "QEH in crisis" and "New hospital now".

It comes as the hospital continues to wait for a government decision on whether it will be rebuilt.

Dr Pallavi Devulapalli works as a GP in Downham Market and was at the protest. She said some of her patients were worried about being referred to the hospital.

Dr Devulapalli told ITV News Anglia: "Women have said they don't want to give birth there, they've asked to be sent somewhere else, but most people don't have a choice, they have to go because it is the only accessible hospital for them.

"The hospital isn't safe, I know it isn't safe, and it eats me up to think that something could happen.

"It's not a safe place, it's not safe for the staff, it's not safe for my patients, we desperately need the government to prioritise a new one."

When the hospital was built in 1980, its flat roof structure was only designed to last for 30 years - 42 years on, it is now failing.

The campaign group hoped to present the card to Mr Barclay but he was not at his office, so instead they stuck the card to the gates of the office.

The campaigners stuck the card to the gate of the constituency office.

Independent borough councillor and Trades Council Secretary Jo Rust said: "We should have had an announcement a year ago and a year on we are not any closer to a new hospital so they are disappointed. They feel let down by the politicians, but they are worried about having to use the hospital.

"We're not going to just go away and we will continue to make as much noise about this as we possibly can."

The Department of Health said it had invested £750,000 in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in June 2020 for critical infrastructure repairs.

A spokesperson said: "Patient and staff safety is our top priority and we have invested record sums to upgrade NHS buildings and facilities so that trusts can continue to provide the best possible quality of care.

"This includes allocating £750,000 to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in June 2020 for critical infrastructure repairs.

"The hospital also received £20m last year to address urgent RAAC issues and has been allocated a further £80m.

"We have received an expression of interest for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to become one of the remaining eight new hospital schemes to be announced and the government aims to make an announcement in due course."

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