Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s condition is improving but more work needs to be done to ensure staffing levels remain high, says the new director of nursing.
Catherine Morgan says nursing levels have not fallen below the minimum requirements in recent weeks and will be looking at ways to retain staff.
The hospital was placed in special measures by regulatory body Monitor after concerns were raised around the quality of patient care by the Care Quality Commission and NHS England.
Staffing levels were one of the key problems and 71 Portuguese nurses due to be in place by Christmas along with 40 new healthcare assistants.
Mrs Morgan said: “The challenges are ensuring that we continue to build on the work which has already been done. We need to build on that recruitment work by having a suitable plan for the long term key issues and looking at new ways at recruiting and retaining staff.
“It is all very well getting people into post but we need to make sure that they are happy here and want to stay.
“We have got to look at a lot of different solutions. No one approach will solve the problem. It won’t be a quick fix as it is national issue to keep nurses in acute settings.
“Over the last few weeks we have made a significant achievement in staffing levels not falling below minimum levels.”
The hospital has already recruited internationally but Mrs Morgan is hoping to find local nurses.
Other solutions include recruiting student nurses and attracting mature people to the profession.
Mrs Morgan, who is married with three children, arrived at the QEH last week after transferring over from Ipswich Hospital where she was deputy director of nursing.
She has worked in the NHS for about 20 years and has been deputy director of nursing in Chelmsford.
Mrs Morgan specialised as a renal nurse.
She said: “This is a really friendly organisation and very welcoming. I am starting to get out and about as much as I can.
“I am delighted that I have come.
“There is a lot of good will here. The staff are really willing and want to move forward. They are very loyal.
“This is an exceptional opportunity and the staff are really supportive.”
Mrs Morgan is one of the new faces on the QEH trust board which includes new chairman David Dean and chief executive Manjit Obhrai. The team has vowed to turn around the hospital’s fortunes.
n Union demands talks with MPs over “£9 million hospital shortfall” – page 11