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MPs had a “positive” meeting with managers at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which is in special measures.

13:44 18 April 2014

Work under way on the A&E department at the QEH, which was completed last month. Picture: Ian Burt

Work under way on the A&E department at the QEH, which was completed last month. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

Elizabeth Truss and Henry Bellingham met interim chief executive Dr Manjit Obhrai and senior officials at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King’s Lynn, to discuss staffing levels and financial problemns at the hospital.

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Health watchdogs the Care Quality Commission and Monitor were critical of low numbers of nurses when they placed the hospital in special measures last October.

Last month, it emerged that the hospital had ended its financial year with a £13m deficit and officials from Monitor were being sent in to “explore options” for future healthcare.

After the meeting, Ms Truss said: “It was positive. What they were very clear about is that they are now fully staffed-up and they’re working on a plan to deal with the financial situation.”

Ms Truss and Mr Bellingham toured the A&E department and wards and met staff during their visit to the 500-bed QEH.

“Morale seems to be positive,” said Ms Truss. “They’ve certainly got some very high quality people working there.

“What Henry and I are keen to do is work with the hospital, work with Monitor and the CCG.

“The hospital needs to make sure it’s delivering a high-quality service. There’s a positive attitude to improvement.”

Mr Bellingham said: “What is good news is that many of the areas of failure have now been addressed, like nursing numbers, supporting staff and dementia training.

“The challenges that remain are around medical records, medicine management and the deficit.

“We went round many of the wards and met many of the senior personnel. Morale is very high and people are determined to see through the recovery plan.”

He added with the population growth expected over the next decade or so, it was vital West Norfolk retained a thriving hospital.

Ministers agreed to give the hospital £3.9m to improve its A&E ward, after it failed to meet waiting targets for three consecutive quarters. The department has now been re-designed, to speed up treatment.

Extra nurses have now been recruited to ensure the hospital can meet recommended staffing levels on its wards. The hospital treated 35,913 in-patients, carried out 33,353 day surgery procedures, dealt with 55,636 A&E admissions and delivered 2,291 babies in 2012/13.

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