Plans to build a £12m state-of-the-art endoscopy unit have been revealed as part of investment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital while it waits to hear if it is to be included in the government’s new build plans.
The King’s Lynn hospital has submitted a full planning application to West Norfolk Council to build a two-storey “endoscopy hospital” on the Day Surgery Unit staff car park.
Set to open to patients in the spring, the facility would boast state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment facilities, parking for 48 cars and 12 spaces for cycles.
The unit would be funded from £20.6m given by the government earlier this year for emergency repairs.
And moving the department from the hospital’s main building to its own dedicated unit would free up space to allow safety measures to be undertaken under the trust’s concrete plank replacement programme.
Further improvements are also planned, including ward refurbishments, improvements to outpatients services and two new MRI scanners.
Hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw said: “As you likely know, our hospital buildings are in a desperate state. They have reached the end of their life.
“We are trying to secure government funding for a full new hospital – one that is fit for the future and one our patients and staff deserve – knowing this is the only sustainable solution for the QEH.
“If we manage to secure the funding and are confirmed as one of the government’s eight new hospital schemes, it will take a number of years to go through the necessary planning and approvals process and build the hospital.
“The very earliest we would expect the new hospital to open its doors would be 2029.
“It’s therefore crucial that we continue to invest in our hospital during this time to make sure we provide the best care and experience we can for our patients, their families and staff.
“Thanks to the emergency national capital funding and, combined with the significant internal capital investment we are making in our hospital this year, including to help digitise our hospital – we are investing over £30m in the QEH which is more than we have ever invested in improvements at the hospital in a year.”
In the application, the QEH said its existing endoscopy unit had become “too small to accommodate current and future demands”.
Documents with the application state the 1,958.3-square metre building would convey a sense of freshness and spaciousness, making access to the unit “a welcoming experience”.
A design and access statement said: “Operationally there are day-to-day constraints as there is only one recovery area in the current unit, which creates further inefficiencies.”
It is proposed the new endoscopy building has “a design life of 60 years”.
On Tuesday, South West Norfolk MP and foreign secretary Liz Truss met with health secretary Sajid Javid and raised the case for a new hospital.
Ms Truss said: “The hospital has already received over £20m of capital investment from the government to support the ongoing repairs and, although this is incredibly welcome, the lifespan of the current building is nearing the end and a new build is the only long-term sustainable solution.”
To sign the petition calling for a new hospital for King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, click the image below.