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King's Lynn hospital boss says sorry after new inadequate rating, but vows to turn things round

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The chief executive of Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital has apologised today after inspectors reported it is still inadequate.

A new report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the hospital still required special measures, because there was "little evidence" of improvement since its previous assessment last year.

Caroline Shaw said the situation was "unacceptable", but insisted the work to turn things around is already underway.

King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw. (14228468)
King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw. (14228468)

She said: "It's really important for me to apologise to our community and patients. We don't want to be delivering this standard of care.

"The inspection was in March and I had only been here for a few weeks. We have done a huge amount to get this hospital and staff engagement back on track."

During a media briefing at the hospital this morning, bosses admitted they had expected another inadequate rating. A similar view had been expressed by its chairman, Professor Steve Barnett, when he met borough councillors last month.

The hospital was classed as inadequate in three out of five assessment areas, relating to service safety, effectiveness and leadership, and requiring improvement for whether services are caring and responsive.

A total of nine service areas were inspected, with the standard of end of life care and diagnostic imaging both worsening since the CQC's previous inspection last year.

But one area of improvement highlighted by inspectors was maternity services, thanks to measures including improved staffing and leadership, breast feeding support services and the development of a new community midwifery hub in Wisbech.

Libby McManus, the trust's new chief nurse, said she was confident the improvements seen there could be replicated right across the organisation.

She said: "I know it's doable. I know we can, together with 3,280 staff, turn things around and turn it around quickly."

On the previous occasions that the QEH has been declared inadequate, senior officials have resigned soon afterwards.

But Mrs Shaw insisted she would not be following their lead.

She said: "I've got a real passion to turn this hospital around

"One of the things that is different here from any hospital I've worked at is the people here are passionate about the QE.

"With that, our job as a leadership team is to turn that into fantastic care."

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