'Exciting times' for James Paget as plans for new build move forward

A bird's eye view of the James Paget University Hospital

A bird's eye view of the James Paget University Hospital - Credit: JPUH

"Exciting times" on the horizon for health care in the borough, bosses at the James Paget Hospital have said.

The hospital in Gorleston was one of 40 selected by the government for a rebuilt, with the site having long outlived its forecast 30-year lifespan when it was built in 1980.

The much-needed project is fast progressing, with a trio of possible designs unveiled in recent weeks providing glimpses of what the Paget could look like for years to come.

Bosses at the hospital have hailed the development as "exciting times" for the borough - but warned that it will not happen overnight.

Mark Flynn, director of finance at James Paget Hospital

Mark Flynn, director of finance at James Paget Hospital - Credit: Archant

Mark Flynn, director of strategic projects at the James Paget, said: "These are exciting times for the Trust. Looking to the future, we are progressing plans to create a new hospital on our site, to provide care for our local population for years to come.

"However, it is likely it will be several years before the new hospital opens its doors to its first patients.

“So, in the meantime, we are focusing our work around a set of strategic ambitions which will ensure that we enhance our existing estate, so that we continue developing and providing quality services for our patients, while working collaboratively with our partners to improve health and care across Norfolk and Waveney.”

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Each of the three potential designs will see the hospital redeveloped in its existing location, rather than making use of land elsewhere.

Instead, each option prevents different layout or development method - with the final plan yet to be determined.

The three options are:

  • A single building with courtyards cut into the building at ground level
    The first option for the new JPUH

    The first option showed all of the main facilities kept in one large building. - Credit: Allies and Morrison

  • A 'campus' design which would see different departments put into separate buildings
    The second option for the new JPUH

    The second option showed a spread out "campus"-style arrangement - Credit: Allies and Morrison

  • A 'street' design, with a single building with blocks separated to create a street-style design
    Third option for new JPUH

    The third option was a "street"-style layout, with the main buildings on either side of a covered walkway - Credit: Allies and Morrison

Anna Hills, the hospital's outgoing chief executive, said: “We have listened to our patients, our staff and our partners in working up these design options.

"Aside from continuing to provide quality health care, we have heard unanimously that our new hospital needs to be accessible, easy to navigate, and add to the green spaces and amenities we already have in our community.

“Having a visual representation of what our hospital could look like is a vital step in our planning, and also demonstrates what a significant opportunity this is for the whole of Norfolk and Waveney to cement the James Paget as a local institution for future generations."

Anna Hills, chief executive of James Paget University Hospital. Picture: James Paget University Hosp

Anna Hills, chief executive of James Paget University Hospital - Credit: Archant

But while the eventual rebuild, which will cost more than £3.7bn, will give a huge boost to the region, the hospital, which is in its 40th year, continues to face testing times ahead.

Much like the rest of the health services in the county, it is facing unprecedented levels of demand as it continues to feel the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And these pressures recently saw the hospital enter its highest level of alert, with more than 7,300 people going through the doors of its emergency department in March alone.

The government's plan is for the hospital to be rebuilt by 2030 - by which time the original site would be 50 years old.