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Queen Elizabeth Hospital boosted by inspection feedback

The initial findings from a new inspection of Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital represent “an important step forward” for the organisation, its boss says.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) officials made two visits to the Gayton Road site last month in its latest assessment of the efforts to guide the hospital out of special measures.

And a report presented to the QEH’s latest board meeting this week said initial feedback from the assessments had been “very positive.”

The Main Entrance of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.
The Main Entrance of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.

The hospital’s chief executive Caroline Shaw said: “The CQC stated that the organisation feels very different, staff are more engaged and were proud to share their improvements.”

“The CQC cited clear examples of where care for our patients and their families has improved since their visit in 2019.”

One of two letters from the CQC to the hospital following the visits said: “Throughout all clinical areas, we observed kind and compassionate care from all staff.

“Patients were treated respectfully and included in treatment planning.”

And Mrs Shaw added: “This assessment is an important step forward for the Trust and I am really pleased that the hard work of our staff is being recognised externally by the CQC.

“Overall, I think the feedback accurately describes the progress we have made, whilst acknowledging that we have more work to do to ensure greater consistency in a number of areas.”

A full report of the CQC’s findings will be compiled following the visits.

But it will not change the inadequate rating that put the hospital into special measures two years ago and trust bosses admit they do not yet know when that grading may change.

Mrs Shaw’s report said the new assessments had been focused on key areas of the hospital’s work and principally on issues which were the subject of formal conditions and notices following the CQC’s previous inspection of the hospital last year.

At that point, the hospital was heavily criticised as inspectors reported that little action had been taken to address the weaknesseswhich had seen it placed into special measures in September 2018.

But a separate summary of the latest inspection, which was also published in papers presented to Tuesday’s board meeting, said: “Importantly, no serious concerns were escalated at any point during the visits which represent a material step change to the 2019 inspection and a strong indicator of progress made by the Trust.

“The CQC Lead Inspector has advised the Trust to now review its conditions and consider an application to have these lifted.”

Meanwhile, hospital bosses have warned hundreds of millions of pounds will be needed to rebuild it or simply maintain it .

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