Hospital staff working 'stellarly' to deliver Covid jab

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is administered. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Vaccination is "the light at the end of the tunnel for us all", said Caroline Shaw, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn - Credit: Denise Bradley

More than 12,000 people have now been vaccinated against coronavirus at a Norfolk hospital, health chiefs heard today.

Caroline Shaw, chief executive at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, told its board of directors staff had worked "stellarly" to deliver 12,569 doses.

In a report to the meeting, she said: "We are working quickly and efficiently to get as many of our staff and the wider community vaccinated as soon as possible, recognising that this is the light at the end of the tunnel for us all."

Chief operating officer Denise Smith said as of January 26, some 1,244 Covid patients had been treated at the QEH, 669 of whom recovered, while 372 died.

Some 20 deaths occurred in November and 70 in December.  She said 189 Covid-positive patients were currently being treated at the QEH, nine of them in intensive care.

A new helpline has been set up for virus patients' families. The board heard it was staffed by people who would visit wards to get an update and report back on their condition.

The meeting heard 33pc of ambulance handovers were completed within 15 minutes in December, against a target of 65pc. Some 32 patients waited more than 12 hours to be assigned to a ward after being admitted to A&E.

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Some 7pc of the hospital's 3,750 staff were off work because of sickness in December, with a Covid sickness level of 1.5pc. 

Roof props have been installed on four wards, according the monthly risk assessment tabled at the meeting. The hospital was constructed with a 30-year working life in the late 1970s, but last year celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Its roof, which was was built from prefabricated concrete planks, would cost £500m to repair, while  new hospital would cost £679m.

The hospital was given £1.5m for urgent repairs by the government in December. It is one of 16 NHS trusts bidding for funding for a new hospital, from which eight will be chosen.

The hospital was placed in special measures after being rated "inadequate" by watchdog the Care Quality Commission in September, 2018.

Today's meeting heard all of the hospital's key services had improved and maternity, medicine, surgery, urgent and emergency care, diagnostic imaging and end of life care were all rated "good" for caring after a CQC inspection in September.

It also heard communication with patients' families was being improved, with staff pro-actively phoning relatives to inform them on loved one's condition and treatment.