Wounded hospital is on the mend in King’s Lynn, says chief executive

Dr Manjit Obhrai - interim chief executive at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Interviewed by Victoria Fear.
Dr Manjit Obhrai - interim chief executive at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Interviewed by Victoria Fear.
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Progress is being made to turn around Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital says the interim chief-executive.

Manjit Obhrai has thanked staff for bringing about significant changes in patient care but says there is still more work to do.

The Gayton Road hospital was placed in special measures by Monitor after a number of concerns were raised about patient care within reports by the Care Quality Commission and NHS England last year .

Mr Obhrai has given an update on the hospital’s development almost two months after he was brought in, along with new chairman David Dean.

He said: “I am quite pleased with the progress but there is no time for complacency. So far, so good, but more work is to be done.

“I want to reassure patients that this is a safe hospital where they will be treated with dignity and respect.”

The new management team is tackling clinical issues highlighted in the reports before moving onto the hospital’s financial deficit, which is thought to reach £3 million at the end of the current financial year. Mr Obrahi said: “We will need short-term funding to address some of the financial deficit and will be asking for that.

“It has been a challenging time for the trust but as soon as we have addressed the quality concerns, targets for accident and emergency rates and the CQC concerns, then we will be addressing the financial 

Mr Obrahi says the hospital now has enough nurses, with staffing levels continuing to achieve the national targets of one nurse to eight patients during the day and one to 11 patients at night.

Last year 71 Portuguese nurses were recruited, along with 40 new healthcare assistants.

Staff are also receiving specialist dementia training along with values and behaviour sessions.

Improvements have also been seen at the accident and emergency department, which has received £1.9 million worth of extra funding to create a building to provide nine extra spaces for patients. The modular building is on schedule to be finished in March.

Doctor numbers in accident and emergency are also being boosted by three locums.

Mr Obhrai, who was a key player in the turnaround of the crisis-hit Mid Staffordshire Hospital Foundation Trust, said: “More senior doctors will be present for most of the week on A and E and the paediatric assessment unit will be open seven days a week.

“In the last few days we seem to have more serious illnesses coming into A and E. Therefore the number of admissions has to increase for us to keep up with that. We need to make sure that discharges are in a timely fashion.”

The hospital is having to review its recruitment programme due to a national shortage, with issues arising in the pharmacy department.

The next step facing the management team will be to look at how clinical leaders run their services.

Mr Obhrai wants doctors to take ownership of their departments and they will be receiving extra support to do this.

He has praised staff for rising to the challenge and has thanked representatives of the union Unison for their help.

He said: “I think we have made significant progress and would like to say a big thank you to staff for making significant efforts to make sure patients are treated in a timely fashion, and the way A and E is run and the rest of the hospital.

“A big thank you to the health community in delivering enough community beds, so people can go home.”