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From the archives: Two decades since work started on the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital

PUBLISHED: 12:51 15 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:51 15 January 2018

Construction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, July1999. Picture: Mike Page/Archant Library

Construction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, July1999. Picture: Mike Page/Archant Library

Mike Page/Archant Library

Two decades after building work started on the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) at Colney, we look back on what was heralded as the largest new hospital building programme in the history of the NHS.

Construction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, August 1999. Picture: Octagon Healthcare Ltd./Archant LibraryConstruction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, August 1999. Picture: Octagon Healthcare Ltd./Archant Library

Work began on the hospital on January 12, 1998 - at the time it was estimated it would cost £214m under a private finance deal approved by then Prime Minister Tony Blair from Japan.

The 809-bed state-of-the-art project replaced the old N&N and the West Norwich Hospital, and costs topped £229m.

Today the trust has 1,237 beds.

By 2037 the N&N looks set to pay £2.2bn to consortium Octagon who financed the scheme, under what former health minister Alan Milburn called “the largest contract in the largest building programme in the history of the National Health Service”.

There was relief when the deal was signed and sealed, after a number of years of uncertainty over whether the scheme would be given the green light,

Nearly four years later, the big move started and over six weeks some 4,500 boxes were shifted to the new site by removals firm Pickfords - one of their biggest jobs at the time.

Moving the hospital out of the city centre was a controversial decision at the time, with worries about access amongst other concerns. The Keep our Hospital in Norwich campaign group even left flowers outside the old site on St Stephen’s Road as a reminder of the opposition to the plans.

Now Green Party city councillor Denise Carlo was quoted in this newspaper at the time as part of the group. She said: “There are a lot of people who are very upset about the decision to go ahead with the new hospital.”

Construction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, October 1999. Picture: Octagon Healthcare Ltd./Archant LibraryConstruction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, October 1999. Picture: Octagon Healthcare Ltd./Archant Library

But today the need to move is mostly recognised, as well as the benefits to being close-by to the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Norwich Research Park.

The hospital opened in 2001 and was officially opened by the Queen in 2004.

In 2011 Ian Gibson, who was Norwich North MP at the time the hospital was built, said: “The inconvenience of buses to it, and the parking arrangements still annoy people, but in general everybody I have met has been very happy with the service.”

Construction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, February 2000. Picture: Archant LibraryConstruction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, February 2000. Picture: Archant Library

The Friends of Norwich Hospitals at the opening of the new Jubilee Garden at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital.

Picture: James BassThe Friends of Norwich Hospitals at the opening of the new Jubilee Garden at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. Picture: James Bass

The Queen signs a picture of herself to mark the opening of the new Norfolk and Norwich hospital.

Date : 05/02/2004
Photo: Nick Butcher
Copy : Mark Nicholls
For. EDP News
©EDP pics 2004  tel (01603) 772434The Queen signs a picture of herself to mark the opening of the new Norfolk and Norwich hospital. Date : 05/02/2004 Photo: Nick Butcher Copy : Mark Nicholls For. EDP News ©EDP pics 2004 tel (01603) 772434

The Queen at the opening of the new Norfolk and Norwich hospital.

Date : 05/02/2004
Photo: Nick Butcher
Copy : Mark Nicholls
For. EDP News
©EDP pics 2004  tel (01603) 772434The Queen at the opening of the new Norfolk and Norwich hospital. Date : 05/02/2004 Photo: Nick Butcher Copy : Mark Nicholls For. EDP News ©EDP pics 2004 tel (01603) 772434

Colney Hospital project leaders (from left) Chris Elliott of Octagon, Tony Holden, acting chairman, Malcom Stamp, trust chief executive and David Hunter of Laing. January 1998. Picture: Archant LibraryColney Hospital project leaders (from left) Chris Elliott of Octagon, Tony Holden, acting chairman, Malcom Stamp, trust chief executive and David Hunter of Laing. January 1998. Picture: Archant Library

Construction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, May1998. Picture: Mike Page/Archant LibraryConstruction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, May1998. Picture: Mike Page/Archant Library

Construction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, July 1998. Picture: Mike Page/Archant LibraryConstruction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, July 1998. Picture: Mike Page/Archant Library

Construction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, December 1998. Picture: Archant LibraryConstruction of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, December 1998. Picture: Archant Library

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