Concrete crisis prompts crumbling Queen Elizabeth Hospital to reassure patients

An entrance sign at the queen elizabeth hospital
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Senior staff at a crumbling hospital have moved to reassure patients that the site is safe, as concerns around the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) continue to grow.

Demolition work got underway at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, Norfolk, in June ahead of a long-awaited complete rebuild of the hospital.

The current building opened in 1980 and was made with Raac concrete.

It was meant to only have a working life of 30 years, but 40 years on, the material is failing - resulting in nearly 4,400 steel and timber temporary props being brought in to hold the roof up.

With Raac very much in the headlines at the moments, hospital staff have written to patients to help put minds at ease.

The hospital is being held up by thousands of temporary props. Credit: Queen Elizabeth Hospital

"We would like to reassure all patients and their families that we have a robust rolling installation programme of steel and timber support props and 'failsafes' to maximise safety for our patients, visitors, and staff," a spokesperson said.

"We have a team of skilled engineers carrying out daily structural checks across the hospital. We appreciate it can be disconcerting for our patients and visitors when they see and hear building work taking place during their visit.

"Teams across the Trust are doing their upmost to keep disruption to a minimum while still delivering the highest possible levels of care."

The hospital has also confirmed it will "prioritise maintaining emergency and life-preserving care" during the upcoming junior doctors and consultants strikes.

Senior consultants are due to walkout on September 19 and 20, as well as October 2, 3 and 4.

On those October dates, they will be joined by junior doctors - the first joint strike action of its kind in NHS history.

With the hospital likely to be under pressure, staff have urged people to only attend the Accident & Emergency department "when absolutely necessary", while routine operations are likely to once again be postponed.

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