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'We are turning things around', King's Lynn hospital bosses insist after new 'inadequate' rating

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Bosses of Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital have insisted their work to turn around its fortunes has already begun, despite today’s latest “inadequate” rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Inspectors have concluded that the trust should remain in special measures after finding a lack of progress to address its failings following a new assessment.

But chief executive Caroline Shaw says she is determined to put things right.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw and chairman Professor Steve Barnett (14198982)
Queen Elizabeth Hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw and chairman Professor Steve Barnett (14198982)

She said: “We welcome the CQC’s feedback and are using this to put in place the right foundations to make the sustainable changes that are necessary to ensure the consistent delivery of safe and quality care that our patients deserve.”

The trust says work is already underway to address the concerns which led to the issuing of conditions on its registration relating to treatment of disease, disorder and injury and mental health practices, as well as criticism from staff of a lack of management support.

It says there has already been significant improvement to maternity services and a 25 per cent rise in the number of operations carried out during the first quarter of this year.

Two new senior appointments have also been made in recent weeks, along with three new non-executive directors, including former West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group chairman and borough councillor, Dr Ian Mack.

Trust chairman Professor Steve Barnett said: “People should not lose sight of many things that QEH does well and the improvements we are committed to making by working together.

“We are absolutely determined to get this right for our patients. There are some success stories, lots of work in progress and also some very real challenges that we have begun tackling.

“What the trust needs now is stability, which changes to our leadership at board level will soon bring. I am confident that through all of the changes we are making, and with the determination from our staff across the trust, that there is a bright future ahead and that even though we are on a long journey, our progress will begin to show when the CQC return.”

Darren Barber, chairman of the hospital’s staff side committee, said the report was “disheartening” to read, but called for the current management to be given the chance to turn things around.

He said: “I believe the pressure we are receiving from our regulators and our financial issues are not supporting staff in doing their jobs, nor providing them with the training or resources they need to do their jobs.

“I would call on our MPs to work with me in challenging the Department for Health and Social Care to develop a long-term solution for our patients and staff, here in West Norfolk.

“Staff and the unions are committed to working alongside the chief executive to change the fortunes of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I urge the community and our stakeholders to give us time to do that.”

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk, added: “Whilst the report is extremely disappointing, I am optimistic that as the new executive team start in post that further progress will be made given the significant experience they will bring to the trust.”

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