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Chief executive of hospital given second failing rating insists improvements have started

PUBLISHED: 10:30 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:30 24 July 2019

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, main entrance. Photo: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, main entrance. Photo: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

The chief executive of a hospital placed in special measures for the second time in a year has said its situation is "wholly unacceptable" - but insists improvement has already started.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital's Chief Executive Caroline Shaw and Chairman Professor Steve Barnett. Picture: Joshua YatesThe Queen Elizabeth Hospital's Chief Executive Caroline Shaw and Chairman Professor Steve Barnett. Picture: Joshua Yates

Caroline Shaw, who joined the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as chief executive around four weeks before the latest visit of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), said work was already under way to address the hospital's failings - after it was again judged to be inadequate.

Mrs Shaw said: "I think it is really important for me to apologise to our community and our patients - it is wholly unacceptable to be rated inadequate and we absolutely have to make sure we are a safe hospital.

"We need to make sure we have a strong team and demonstrate that this hospital is a safe place for our patients."

Mrs Shaw criticised her predecessors at the hospital for the way the last report had been responded to and insisted things were different this time.

She said: "I feel the last time around the inspectors came in April, but people waited for the report to be published to start addressing the concerns. This has not happened this time.

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"The inspection was in March and we have been made well aware of the areas we need to improve in, so have been working to address these."

In recent months the hospital has appointed a new leadership team,  including a new chief nurse, deputy chief executive and financial director.

It is also due to recruit more than 80 new nurses from the Philippines to strengthen the team and will also be focussing on recruiting locally.

Libby McManus, the new chief nurse, said: "While I have only been here eight days, the challenge we face is absolutely doable and one I am relishing.

"Many of my staff have said they are already feeling more supported and that they have noticed change; I know together we can turn things around quickly."

Mrs Shaw added: "We all have the passion and motivation and it is now our job to turn this into fantastic care and a safe place to work.

"I am personally passionate about this hospital and dedicated to continue this journey."

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