Inspectors feedback highlights ‘positive’ changes at Norfolk hospital

Ambulances queueing outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Picture: Chris Bishop

Ambulances queueing outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Norfolk hospital bosses are set to discuss feedback from health inspectors highlighting “real improvements” as it hopes to move out of special measures.

Inspectors for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) made two visits to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King’s Lynn in September.

The hospital has been in special measures since 2018 and rated inadequate in two successive CQC reports.

In 2019, inspectors raised a number of concerns including patient safety, the reliance on agency staff and learning from mistakes in a report which found “little evidence of improvement”.

More: Still not good enough: Hospital slammed with second failing ratingDuring the latest visit, inspectors found improvements across the six core services.

Ahead of Tuesday’s board of trustees, Professor Steve Barnett, chairman of the board, said staff’s hard work and dedication was “very clearly paying off”.

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In his report, Professor Barnett wrote: “Though overall feedback from the CQC was very positive, there is also important learning for us to reflect on, giving the trust clear priorities for the next phase of our continuous improvement journey.”

Inspectors noted challenges with recruiting staff and variance in the in the quality of records within medicine and end of life care departments.

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In the maternity department the CQC said the culture within the obstetricians was “challenging” and showed some resistance to change. Surgeons also felt they were not fully supported by middle managers and unhappy with the number of cancelled procedures as a result of increased activities.

In contrast to last year’s report, no serious concerns were escalated during the visits.

The CQC has asked the trust to review its section 31 conditions and consider submitting an application to have these lifted.

More: Norfolk hospital says it is making improvements despite coronavirusInspectors noted evidence throughout the trust of infection control and positivity amongst staff.

In urgent and emergency care physical changes made to the department was seen to be having a positive impact on functionality and measures implemented to manage patients safety.

Louise Notley, QEH’s associate director of quality improvement, wrote: “Inspectors noted real improvement from the 2019 report describing engaged staff eager to share their improvement journey’s and observing kind and compassionate care of patients through-out with patients being treated with dignity and involved in their treatment plans.”

The full CQC report will be published in due course.

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