Jeremy Corbyn to speak at King's Lynn hospital rally

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who will be joining a rally and march calling for a new hospital in King's Lynn. 

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who will be joining a rally and march calling for a new hospital in King's Lynn. - Credit: PA

The former leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn will speak at an upcoming rally calling for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn to be rebuilt.

The Save the Queen Elizabeth Hospital rally and march will take place on Saturday, July 3 between 12noon and 3pm.

It is being organised by the King's Lynn and District Trades Union Council, and will begin at The Walks where there will be speakers at the bandstand.

The socially distanced crowd will then make its way through the town to the Tuesday Market Place.

Now an independent MP, Mr Corbyn is the latest speaker to be announced for the rally and organisers hope his attendance will help raise the profile of their campaign.

Other speakers include GP Dr Pallavi Devulapalli, former GP Diarmuid Tiernan and Gordon Taylor from health union Unison.

As well a new hospital, campaigners are also calling for a decent pay rise for NHS staff and want to celebrate the NHS on its 73rd anniversary.

Protestors outside the QEH hospital in Kings Lynn, organised by Kings Lynn Trades Council.Byline: S

A protestor at a previous event held outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

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Jo Rust, secretary of King's Lynn Trades Council, said: "All over the UK people are taking part in rallies and marches to recognise the birthday of the NHS and the difference it’s made to our lives, never more needed than during this terrible pandemic.

"But in King’s Lynn our need for a new building has to be a focus. How can we celebrate all that’s good with the NHS when our hospital is falling down and staff are being offered an insulting ipc on their pay?”

Hancock at QEH

Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to pledge the money needed to replace ageing Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. He saw the serious issues for himself on a visit. - Credit: QEH

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Friday (June 18) and was shown the building’s structural issues.

While there, he admitted it is “in serious need of improvement”.

The roof is currently being held up by around 200 props and critically ill patients have previously been moved to other hospitals because of the problem.

Built with an expected working life of 30 years in the late 1970s, repairs are estimated at £550m. A new building is estimated to cost £679m.

It is hoped the QEH will be one of eight new-builds planned after 2025. In the meantime, the government has given £20m for urgent repair work needed.

A prop holding up the roof at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

One of the props in place around the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, including its kitchen, critical care unit and Rudham ward. - Credit: QEH

Those attending are being asked to wear a face mask and socially-distance throughout the event. They are also being encouraged to dress in hospital coats or any health-related fancy dress.

Organisers are working closely with police to ensure the rally and march complies with all regulations, including those related to Covid-19. 

Everyone is being encouraged to take a rapid lateral flow test for coronavirus beforehand.

Jo Ruse at the protest to encourage a rebuild of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

Jo Rust, Secretary of King’s Lynn and District Trades council. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

“ join us and send a message to the world that you care about our hospital,” organisers say.

To keep track of numbers, attendees are being asked to register for the event through an Eventbrite page.

Updates are also available on the Save Our Queen Elizabeth Hospital Facebook group.