Hospital report sets out targets to reduce health inequality as part of coronavirus recovery plan

Denise Smith, chief operating officer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Photo: Queen Elizabeth Hospit

Denise Smith, chief operating officer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Photo: Queen Elizabeth Hospital - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk hospital has said work still “needs to be done” to tackle health inequality as part of its ongoing coronavirus response.

A report will go before the Queen Elizabeth Hospital board of trustees on Tuesday looking at the diversity of west Norfolk and how it can tackle issues as part of its coronavirus recovery plan.

As of September 29, the King’s Lynn hospital has treated 462 patients for coronavirus, reporting its first new coronavirus death in more than two months on September 26.

Nearly 300 people have been discharged to date, with seven patients recovering in hospital.

In an update to the board Denise Smith, chief operating officer, said the last positive swab was received on September 24 and there was as of September 29 two patients being treated for coronavirus.

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Caroline Shaw, QEH’s chief executive, said; “The next few months look set to be very busy, particularly as we head into winter.

“However, I am confident that we have robust plans in place to navigate a winter where we are likely to face our normal winter pressures, alongside a potential increase in COVID-19 cases.”

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The hospital will then discuss the report which said the virus had a “disproportionate impact” on patients and communities who live with some of the greatest levels of need and health inequality - and the pandemic “amplified existing inequalities”.

Health inequality is defined as a an avoidable, unfair or systematic difference in health between different groups of people.

Data showed mortality rates from causes considered preventable for those under 75 shown the West Norfolk is higher that the Norfolk average for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases between 2016 and 2018.

Another area highlighted was deprivation with 71.9pc of west Norfolk deprivation considered in the first five most deprived levels.

The index takes into account a number of factors relating to deprivation, from one, being the most deprived to 10 the least.

In the report, the hospital aims to meet eight actions set nationally as well as working in partnership locally to tackle the issue.

Carly West-Burnham, director of strategy said: “We recognise that there is still work to be done in this area and will be focusing on supporting the delivery of system key priority areas.”

Further updates will go before the board’s March meeting.

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