The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn has been given a £1.9m cash injection to upgrade its accident and emergency department in preparation for the challenges of winter.
While the extra cash has been welcomed, hospital bosses have urged the public to play their part in helping the hospital ease winter time pressures, especially with the added threat of a possible second wave of COVID-19.
QEH chief operating officer Denise Smith has urged people to have their flu vaccination and continue to maintain social distancing.
“We’re pleased to have been allocated nearly £2m to strengthen our planning for this winter,” she said.
“This year, more than ever, this funding will help us ensure that we can put in place effective measures to allow us to treat all of our patients as safely and as quickly possible.
“We will use this funding to make further improvements to our Emergency Pathway, creating more space and making the environment more comfortable for our patients.
“While the extra funding will support our winter planning, the very best thing our local community can do to support us this winter is have their flu jab – the flu jab will help protect them, their families, our trust and our patients and will reduce the pressure on our hospital,” she said.
“We are also encouraging the local community to keep up their good work on social distancing – keeping socially distanced and following the restrictions in place will help reduce the risk of a second wave of COVID-19, particularly during the traditionally busy winter period.”
The trust is one of 117 in England to receive a share of the £300m government NHS funding package to upgrade facilities ahead of the traditional winter strain on services.
The money is to increase A&E capacity, put enhanced infection prevention and control measures in place and improve emergency care and urgent treatment services by the start of next year.
North West Norfolk MP James Wild has praised QEH staff for their work during the pandemic.
“All the Staff at QEH have worked incredibly hard responding to COVID-19 and I pay tribute to everything they have done for the people of West Norfolk and beyond,” he said.
Hospital bosses are still hoping for government cash to build a new hospital. The current building has gone beyond its intended 30-year lifespan and last month celebrated 40 years since opening.
Mr Wild has pledged to continue to fight for further investment for the hospital.
He said: “The QEH is my top priority and I will continue to work with the QEH team to make the case for further investment to modernise the hospital as part of the health infrastructure plan.”