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King's Lynn hospital 'still inadequate', say inspectors

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Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital is to remain in special measures after inspectors reported finding “little evidence” of improvement in recent months.

A new assessment by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which has been published this morning, says the hospital remains inadequate and has called for a range of improvements.

The commission, which originally put the hospital into special measures last September, carried out the latest inspection over several weeks during March and April.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn (9952700)
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn (9952700)

It rated the hospital 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.

Professor Ted Baker, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “It was extremely concerning to find little evidence of improvement on our return to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“Improvements that needed to be made had not been made and the service fell short of what people should be able to expect.

“During our inspection we found a lack of processes and systems to ensure the effective oversight and governance of services.

“We found significant concerns and risks to patients within the urgent and emergency service, medicine, end of life care and gynaecology which were raised with the trust immediately. Many of these concerns had previously been identified at our inspection in 2018, yet necessary improvements had not been made.

“Our findings are such that I have recommended that the trust remains in special measures, and continues to receive the support from this, to ensure it improves its services and delivers safe care and treatment.

“It is vital that the trust board concentrates on what we have told them and does all it can to ensure swift and sustainable improvements are made.

“We will continue to liaise with NHS Improvement with regard to the trust and our inspectors will return in due course to carry out further inspections.”

The commission’s statement listed 13 separate areas for improvement, ranging from improved systems in emergency care to reforms of how the hospital’s board functions.

It also called for patients to be treated as individuals and be kept informed of care patterns, and for greater monitoring of action to meet the findings of audits and inspections.

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