Why we need a new QEH

Home » Why we need a new QEH

A male patient and female nurse by the patient’s bed. Above them are timber supports holding up the ceiling

As a hospital made from RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete), QEH was built in 1980 and designed to last 30 years. RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete used to manufacture pre-cast planks which have been used to build the hospital.

These planks are now more than 40 years old and are in the roof and walls of 79% of the main building.

We have a rolling programme to install steel and timber support props and ‘failsafes’ across the first floor of the hospital to maximise safety for our patients, visitors, and staff.

An independent, expert assessment undertaken nationally has shown this will only make the building safe up to 2030. It will not be possible to extend the lifespan of the current QEH further. A new hospital is the only long-term sustainable solution.

We want to become a centre of excellence for frailty and stroke, day surgery and regional anaesthesia, research and innovation, and same day emergency care – which is consistent with our Clinical Strategy – and provide outstanding care in world-class facilities that meets the needs of our growing and ageing population.

We also want to become the best rural District General Hospital for patient and staff experience and a new hospital is central to achieving this ambition.

What the new hospital means for our patients, local communities and staff


Our aging estate has a detrimental impact on the confidence our patients have in our hospital and their care. Despite our staff doing an exceptional job providing high quality and compassionate care, we’re not able to give patients the best experience.

Closing areas while we work to install failsafes creates significant operational challenges for our staff and significant disruption to patients and their families.


“Staff are working in difficult conditions and going the extra mile to give patients confidence, but it is extremely tough for them too. The patients on the wards all notice the props and supports and whilst it’s to maximise safety, it’s a constant topic of conversation.”

Sadie Gent, Ward Co-ordinator

“You could hear the drilling and banging. It was quite bad trying to recover and get rest. The staff and patients did have to adjust to keep the place open and running.”

Rodney Smith, 72, who had two hip replacements at QEH

“When it rains, the roof leaks. It doesn’t leak in just one place, either. There are many places where rainwater drips down beneath the joints, and we have to move patients, so it doesn’t drip on them.”

Phulmattie Mohan, Matron for Medicine

We have a strong and well-known Case for Change driven by four key areas:


The current hospital has reached end of life (national experts say the current hospital has a 2030 deadline) due to Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC)


Improvements recommended in patient and staff surveys – as well as in CQC inspection reports and described in the Trust’s risk register – relating to RAAC and the operational impact on the running of and people’s experience of the hospital


Challenges in workforce retention, satisfaction and wellbeing relating to our estate and RAAC


The current hospital can no longer meet current or future forecast increases in demand

Being part of the New Hospital Programme gives us a once in a generation opportunity to bring world-class healthcare facilities benefitting the communities we serve – and this has been passionately and unanimously supported by the people and organisations of Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and Cambridgeshire.

Maximising safety of our current site

Timber failsafes support the ceiling in our operating theatres

Our current buildings have reached the end of their life. Steel and timber support props maximise the safety of the hospital, but they don’t extend its life beyond 2030.

Modernising the current QEH

Exterior of our new Endoscopy Unit, showing the new building in bronze coloured cladding and large windows

We have been working to invest in new facilities in our current buildings, where it makes sense to do so.

The voices of our local community and staff

A female member of staff chatting to a patient at an event

Over recent months, people have been adding their support by sharing their thoughts, feelings, and views on why we need a new hospital.

The support from our stakeholders

Secretary of State for Health and Social care, Steve Barclay MP, greets staff at QEH

We are delighted to have received a broad range of support from our local communities, our patients, our staff, and our supporters.