Minister for Health visits West Norfolk Eye Centre
Minister for Health, Edward Argar MP, visited the new West Norfolk Eye Centre at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn (QEH) on Wednesday.
The Minister received a tour of the West Norfolk Eye Centre, led by chief operating officer, Denise Smith, and heard how it will enable the Trust to carry out a further 2,000 Opthamology outpatient appointments, as well as 2,000 more intravitreal eye injections (used to treat a number of retinal conditions).
In addition to visiting the West Norfolk Eye Centre, Minister Argar was briefed on the proactive work the Trust is carrying out to improve the safety of its ageing estate.
The work is now under-way following the welcome allocation of £20.6 million in emergency capital funds, which will allow the hospital to create decant facilities for wards and theatres, enabling installation of failsafes in year one of a three year programme.
The Trust’s longer-term ambition is to bring a new hospital to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk so that patients, the local community and staff have the local hospital they deserve and one that is fit for the future. QEH is waiting to hear if it will be named in the next cohort of Trusts to be given funding for a new hospital. A case for such a building programme was submitted last Autumn.
Mr Argar said: “It was a great pleasure to visit the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn with local MP, James Wild.
“The new West Norfolk Eye Centre at the hospital is a leader across the UK in ophthalmology and it was fantastic to meet Denise Smith and her team to hear about how they’ll be able to undertake thousands more appointments and treatments.
“Providing timely specialist eye care is key and I thank all of our ophthalmologists for working tirelessly during the pandemic.
“It was also a chance to see first-hand the very real estate challenges faced by the Trust – in particular the significant RAAC plank issues – and to hear about their proposals to improve their buildings.
“I was also pleased to see the work going into the hospital’s new facilities for wards and theatres, backed by over £20 million of additional government funding to improve care and help tackle the Covid backlog.”
Graham Ward, Acting Chair at QEH, commented: “We were delighted to host the Minister for Health and grateful to him for taking the time to visit QEH and the new West Norfolk Eye Centre.
“The Minister heard how the West Norfolk Eye Centre will improve care for patients in the local community but also saw how a new hospital for West Norfolk is vital if we are to continue providing the very best care to our patients.”
Caroline Shaw, chief executive at QEH, said:“My team and I are really pleased that we were able to welcome Minister Argar for a visit to QEH, to showcase the new West Norfolk Eye Centre.
“This was a great opportunity for us to discuss with him our recent improvement journey and to share detail of the investment in our estate we have received to date.
“This much-needed capital injection has enabled development of the West Nofolk Eye Centre and the Endoscopy Unit, which will open to patients later this year.
“These significant developments will improve the experience of our staff and patients, but ultimately a new hospital is key providing healthcare to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk which is truly fit for purpose and best serves our patients, our community and our staff.”