QEH surgery closure a body blow to patients and staff

Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn’s plans to send people with cancer 40 miles away for treatment would be a body blow to patients and staff, UNISON warns today.

Theatre staff at QEH have been informed that elective cancer surgery may be moved to the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital an hour’s drive away.

In September, the hospital trust decided to temporarily close beds in two wards to cope with a severe staffing shortage, but pledged to keep running as many beds as possible and take on more agency staff.

UNISON regional organiser Peter Passingham said: “The Queen Elizabeth’s plans to send its cancer patients 40 miles away to get the surgery they need would be a body blow to the people of west Norfolk.

“Moving patients and staff across the county for elective surgery means already overburdened health workers adding hours of travel onto their days to perform surgery on patients moved miles from their friends and family when they most need support. It’s simply not right.

“Instead of consulting staff about these damaging proposals, QEH bosses have put 70 workers on notice that they may have to spend the winter travelling across the county to do their jobs.

“We urge the board to reject these plans but we recognise that the blame for this crisis lies in Westminster.

“By scrapping the student nurse bursary, freezing pay, spending the best part of a decade starving the NHS of resources and treating foreign workers with disdain, the government has actively discouraged people from working in our health service.

“The people of west Norfolk deserve better than this.”