Health services in west Norfolk must change to meet future needs

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Health services in west Norfolk must change to meet future needs and be financially sustainable, a new report has found.

The report published by the NHS West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group , which is responsible for health and social care in the region, sets out the local challenges in the area.

These include an elderly population that is increasing faster than the national rate and a higher incidence of people with long-term conditions. The report also found that the NHS was finding it hard to attract, recruit and retain specialist skilled staff in west Norfolk, because of the location.

The report details a number of opportunities for improvements which include greater efficiency, better use of technology, better integration of services and better use of estates.

Dr Ian Mack, a local GP and chairman of WNCCG, said: 'The experience of patients in west Norfolk has improved over the years. 'However, we still don't always get the right care for patients or make the best use of resources available. We must plan now for us all, as the patients of the future.


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'The challenges we are describing in this report tell us why we need to transform NHS services locally to create high quality and financially sustainable services now and into the future. The evidence we have gathered sets out a clear case for change and how the local NHS needs to adapt and update in order to meet these new demands.

'Our next step is to continue our work with local clinicians and health and care leaders to develop options for a new pattern of healthcare delivery that could meet the challenges we have set out. We will consult formally with the public on any changes after we have further progressed our clinical work.'

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The 'Evidence for Change' report brings together in one place evidence about health and healthcare across west Norfolk.

The content of the report has been drawn from the initial findings of the 'Contingency Planning Team', which was commissioned by the health regulator Monitor to support clinicians and health and care leaders to find a system-wide solution to the financial and quality challenges currently faced by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.

The QEH was placed in special measures 19 months ago, but health secretary Jeremy Hunt said on a visit last month that it was making progress. The QEH was unavailable for comment yesterday.

What is your experience of the QEH? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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