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Love West Norfolk: Joyous to discover a forever home, says hospital deputy chief executive

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Written by Queen Elizabeth Hospital deputy chief executive, Laura Skaife-Knight

Two years ago my partner and I sat in a bar in Whitby, during a weekend break, and decided that we would aspire to live by the coast in the next five to 10 years, knowing the benefits that a change of lifestyle would bring.

I must admit, when this job opportunity came up, we had never been to Norfolk previously – but when we started talking to our friends about the prospect of moving, it was clear we’d been missing something, as the rest of Nottingham had clearly visited Norfolk in their masses!

Laura Skaife-Knight
Laura Skaife-Knight

Everyone told us to go for it, saying what a beautiful part of the country Norfolk is. And boy were they right.

After visiting several times, we look a leap of faith and changed jobs, sold our house and relocated to Great Bircham in West Norfolk. Being part of the local community where we live and work is really important to us, and we haven’t looked back since.

We have lived in West Norfolk for 10 months now, and we regularly say, it still feels like we’re on holiday. The coast line is to die for, the beaches among the best we’ve visited and those who know us, know we are big foodies, and we are absolutely spoilt for choice living here, with so many great pubs, bars and restaurants right on our doorstep.

Laura Skaife-Knight
Laura Skaife-Knight

There are too many favourites to list – but best beaches for us are Brancaster, Holkham and Holme-Next-The-Sea, and best places to eat are Socius in Burnham Market, The Old Bank in Snettisham and The Chequers in Thornham and best bars Number 29 in Burnham Market, The Ship in Brancaster and The Jolly Sailors in Brancaster Staithe.

Best places to visit are Horsey, for the seals, the beautiful Holkham Hall deers and park, and of course ... Sandringham. What a fabulous place to go for walks. We are yet to get a dog (you’re no-one in Norfolk without a dog) and a Defender, but we have the wellies, the Barbour jacket and the cottage.

I could not be more proud of how our staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) have responded to the pandemic in recent months. Their dedication and focus on delivering safe and compassionate care for our patients and their families has been simply first class. As has the response and support from the community.

The QEH has a unique relationship with its local community, and we are determined to continue our ongoing journey of improvement so that our local community have a hospital they can be proud of for all of the right reasons – for the quality of patient care and experience.

We want our patients and their families to be confident in our care and to know that we are a hospital that lives our values - we listen, we act, we care – day in and day out.

This year we mark the 40th anniversary of QEH – and top of our list of priorities, other than getting our hospital out of special measures, is lobbying for national capital monies to build a new hospital so that we can modernise the QEH and future-proof our wonderful hospital for the next decades to come. And who would bet against us?

The strapline of our recruitment campaign at QEH reads: ‘best of work; best of life’ – and I 100 per cent agree with this statement about West Norfolk now we’ve experienced all it has to offer. I think it’s fair to say, we are here to stay!

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