We will turn this around, says chairman of failing hospital in letter to community

Professor Steve Barnett, Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chair. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Professor Steve Barnett, Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chair. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

As the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was placed in special measures by inspectors for a second time, the trust's chairman wrote a letter to the community, published in full below.

"To our patients and the wider community,

"On behalf of the trust, I would like to update you on our latest Care Quality Commission inspection results and ratings and share with you our determination as a new leadership team to put things right so that we become an organisation that inspires confidence in our patients and their families.

"The QEH has been rated Inadequate for a second time in our latest report, and remains one of 12 trusts in the country in special measures. While this is not unexpected news to us, we know it is not news that any of us - not least our patients and local community - will wish to hear.

"We know QEH holds a very special place in the heart of our local community, with an incredibly strong connection with many patients and families. I see this very strongly in the feedback I read and the many generous donations which come in every week, for which we are always grateful. Your support is appreciated and is never taken for granted.

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"By way of context, our CQC inspection took place in March and April this year, while we were still in the very early stages of our improvement journey and with myself and our new chief executive only just in post. Since our inspection, we have appointed a new and experienced executive team which is taking shape and three new non-executive directors who will only add further to the calibre and strength in depth of our board moving forward. Together, our leadership team is absolutely determined to move the hospital out of special measures and turn this organisation around. This work has started and will be a relentless focus. We are clear that our patients and the local community we serve deserve nothing less.

"Work is under way to make the improvements needed to meet the trust's legal requirements, which included making immediate changes to ensure the safety of our patients. I am pleased to report that the latest CQC report recognises the progress that has been made in a number of areas that caused the CQC significant concern, notably our emergency department and maternity, with the overall rating of the latter moving up to requires improvement. Specific improvements in this area include the new community midwifery hub at North Cambridgeshire Hospital in partnership with Cambridge Community Services; breast feeding support workers; and strengthened leadership and medical staffing and arrangements.

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Our most immediate task is stability, which I am confident our leadership changes at board level - and the injection of significant experience - will soon bring. This, coupled with the determination from our staff across the trust, will mean there is a bright future ahead for QEH, which involves QEH being an organisation that you can be proud of for all of the right reasons. Thank you for your continued support. Though we are not on an overnight journey, we are seeing early signs of progress and steps in the right direction which, we believe, will show when the CQC return.

Best wishes

Professor Steve Barnett

Trust chairman

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