New chief at King’s Lynn hospital sets out her top priorities

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The new chief of Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) has vowed to ensure staff aim to get things right for every patient, every time.

The hospital was held in special measures in September after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found a number of areas still require improvement.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, Dorothy Hosein, the hospital’s new chief executive, said: “Everybody seems a little bit obsessed with when we are going to come out of special measures. What really matters is that we get it right for patients every single day.

“It’s about being a centre of excellence because that’s what patients deserve – safe, excellent care.”

Mrs Hosein admitted the hospital still has some way to go to reach all the CQC requirements but said work is very much under way.

Since her arrival, she has overseen the introduction of a frailty unit, bringing together professionals with specialist knowledge of caring for older people in one place. She said it was a outstanding care model and staff were keen to work on it.

“I have a really keen interest in frail elders and am very passionate about that cohort of patients,” she added.

The unit is one of the hospital’s attempts to address issues over patients ending up on the wrong wards due to a lack of capacity. That pressure on beds can lead to cancelled or delayed operations, which has been an issue at the QEH in the past, but Mrs Hosein said that now happens much less often.

Staffing continues to be a challenge and the hospital has just recruited 27 nurses from Spain and will be looking to the Philippines in January.

The hospital came under pressure previously from the CQC for failing to maintain a high enough staff to patient ratio. Mrs Hosein said those ratios are now being met, but it is still tough.

The hospital is also working with the College of West Anglia, in Lynn, to develop a nurse training programme to encourage homegrown talent.

Mrs Hosein said there is a need for the hospital, the NHS and partnership organisations to move towards 24/7 working across the board to reduce situations where hospitals encounter severe pressure on beds. Often that happens when the hospital is unable to find appropriate places to discharge patients to, meaning it does not have capacity for admissions.

Mrs Hosein said the QEH has already made good in-roads into making itself a 24/7 organisation. In A&E, for example, a consultant is on shift until 10pm as standard.

In a previous role, Mrs Hosein reorganised another hospital’s maternity services and she said it is an area getting close attention at the QEH. She said a midwife-led unit must be delivered either within the existing hospital or in a new building as a matter of priority.

Maternity is one area currently being scrutinised by a contingency planning team brought in by Monitor and West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group – a review welcomed by Mrs Hosein.

She said:”It’s an opportunity to transform the way we delivery services to our community. It’s an opportunity to not just look inside the hospital but at what’s going on outside and how we integrate and work together.”