‘We will get out of special measures’ vows new King’s Lynn hospital chairman

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Latest health news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
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“We will get out of special measures” is the message from the new chairman of Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Edward Libbey, 67, took over the Gayton Road site last week and is determined to build on the work of his predecessor, David Dean, to continue to turn the hospital around.

He said: “We have been through a difficult time but we will come out of it.”

Mr Libbey arrived on the same day as a 32-strong delegation from the Care Quality Commission, which was inspecting the hospital.

The report is due in September but Mr Libbey and chief executive Manjit Obhrai have received some positive feedback, which acknowledged that the QEH was “caring to the core” along with improvements to its dementia care. Inspectors had also taken the unusual step of praising radiology manager Ann Garner, Denver ward manager Merwyn Agcaoili and stroke matron Di Benefer.

Dr Obhrai said: “All we are looking for is for the CQC to acknowledge the progress made. What we don’t want them to say is that nothing has changed.

“I have seen the progress in the organisation. I tell the staff to take pride in what they have done.”

But Mr Libbey and Dr Obhrai admit that there are still areas of improvement for the hospital, which includes the 18-week cancer care targets along with the performance of the A and E department.

Dr Obhrai is now looking at ways to find a permanent solution for the problems, such as consultant recruitment, rather than a “band aid fix”.

He said: “If you look at A and E consultants there are not enough in the country let alone in Lynn. We have got to look at different models.

“A significant number of patients at A and E have developed conditions which can be dealt with by a nursing consultant.

“We also have patients at A and E which have medical conditions such as heart failure, chest pain and pneumonia which can be treated by a physician rather than an A and E consultant.

“Also we have started to look at whether we need a GP present in A and E.

“If you look at the national figures 30 to 40 per cent of patients come to A and E when they could be seen by GP.”

Mr Libbey added: “We have an ageing population that is clearly has different demands of the health service. Secondly patients have higher expectations of the health service which we need to meet.”

Dr Obhrai said the NHS has to be efficient and effective as the NHS needs to make four per cent savings to stand still but the average is three per cent.

Later in the year, the contingency planning team will be visiting the hospital to look at what services should be provided at the site.

Mr Libbey said: “The most important thing you can do is engage with the process to make sure that we as a hospital get what is the right outcome for patients.”

Mr Libbey, who was a chemist and worked for BP for many years, has strong links to Lynn as he grew in Gaywood Road.He is married with two adult daughters and lives in Starston, Norfolk.