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QEH campaigners rally at constituency office of Steve Barclay

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Campaigners for a new hospital at King’s Lynn to replace the ailing QEH, travelled to the constituency office in March of Health Minister Steve Barclay.

“Sadly, he wasn’t there,” said campaign spokesperson Jo Rust.

“So, we had to leave our card and the hundreds of letters we got signed for his to see when he does attend there. We must have a new hospital and we must have it now.”

The protest was organised by King’s Lynn Trades Council whose members stood outside the locked gates of the complex where the NE Cambs MP has his constituency office.

Hospital bosses, meanwhile, are keeping their fingers crossed over Christmas for an announcement in the New Year about whether the QEH is to be replaced as part of the Government’s pledge for 40 new hospitals.

Alice Webster, acting chief executive at the QEH, said: “We understand that a decision on QEH being added to the government’s new hospital programme will be announced in early 2023.

“We continue to do all we can to press our case for a new hospital, which is extremely strong, and very much hope we can bring good news about the future of our hospital early next year.”

The protest was organised by King’s Lynn Trades Council whose members stood outside the locked gates of the complex where the NE Cambs MP has his constituency office.

This week Norfolk county council backed a motion calling for the Government to ensure the QEH is on the list of new hospitals.

And earlier this month the ‘Save Our Queen Elizabeth Hospital’ campaign pledged to continue fighting until the hospital was replaced.

“We’ve said time and time again that we won’t rest until we do have an announcement but even then, if we do hear a positive message, the devil will be in the detail,” it said in a statement.

“We can see from what happened locally with Hillington Square that funding can run out leading to cost cutting. So, we could be told the QEH has got funding only to have tranches of it withdrawn at a later date meaning the full plan can’t be delivered and cutbacks have to be made.

The protest was organised by King’s Lynn Trades Council whose members stood outside the locked gates of the complex where the NE Cambs MP has his constituency office.

“The local Tory MPs claims to have campaigned, but in matter of fact, all they’ve done is what they’re paid to do.

“And Liz Truss has done even less than that and only stepped up when she had to resign as PM and lost her senior ministerial roles. Prior to that she had kept very quiet about the QEH.

“We know the MPs will claim credit if there’s a positive outcome, but it’s actually been the campaigners who have kept this in the news.

“We’re the ones who have been creative and imaginative to ensure the campaign has remained newsworthy and given the population a reason to continue to support us. We’ve taken this to parliament three times.

“We’ve held a big public rally attended by a high-profile MP Jeremy Corbyn, and we’ve been in the town centre getting letters and postcards signed and we’re the ones who have sent thousands of thousands of letters to whoever is the current Secretary of State for health.”

Ahead of a recent speech by Mr Barclay (currently battling resolution of the nurses pay dispute) a Government statement said that “looking beyond the immediate challenges of this winter, the Secretary of State will reiterate the need to ensure a stronger future for health and care including investment in NHS buildings and the need to modernise the way future hospitals are built as part of the government’s commitment to deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030”.

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