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Union boss urges community to 'wake up' to King's Lynn hospital crisis

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A senior union official has warned that staff at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital are at "breaking point" and drastic action is needed to solve its problems.

The comments come just hours after a Care Quality Commission report declared the hospital remained inadequate and will remain in special measures.

But Lynn's MP has backed bosses to turn around its fortunes.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. (14243780)
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. (14243780)

Peter Passingham, Eastern region organiser for Unison, said the findings should be a "wake-up call" both to bosses and the general public.

He said: “It’s a wake-up call to managers that the hospital can no longer be expected to run on the goodwill of its employees.

“Piling more and more work onto staff already stretched to breaking point is the perfect way to lose the sympathy of even the most dedicated workforce.

“Hospital bosses urgently need to make a serious commitment to working with staff and trade unions to turn QEH around and make it an attractive place to work."

He added: “This is also a wake-up call to the people of West Norfolk.

“QEH managers can only do so much when it’s the decisions made in Westminster that have brought our local hospital to its knees.

“Despite its hardships, QEH is still expected to find millions of pounds in savings this year to help go some way towards balancing the books in Norfolk, a task that, due to chronic government underfunding, just doesn’t seem possible while providing residents with the healthcare they need and deserve.

“People need to tell their MPs that things just aren’t good enough – we need to see change before these wounds get so deep they won’t heal.”

North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said the findings were "extremely disappointing", but backed the hospital's leadership to turn things around.

He said: "We now have an exceptionally able chairman and an outstanding chief executive. Also, many other very senior positions have been filled in recent months.

Sir Henry Bellingham (7996235)
Sir Henry Bellingham (7996235)

"This means that it really is not fair to judge them on a few months performance, especially when we know that there are a number of key initiatives in place that are already having a beneficial impact.”

Sir Henry said he would be seeking a meeting with bosses, adding: “I will make it very clear to them that they are incredibly fortunate to have so many exceptionally dedicated staff, who work tirelessly, day in, day out, to do their level best for patients.

"These staff deserve the highest calibre management and leadership, and this is exactly what I believe they now have.

"This hospital has gone through numerous changes in the past, but I do believe they are now better placed than ever to complete their turnaround programme.”

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