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MP reassures that Queen Elizabeth Hospital will not close over inadequate rating

PUBLISHED: 09:45 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:47 24 July 2019

North West Norfolk Conservative MP Sir Henry Bellingham Photo: UK Parliament

North West Norfolk Conservative MP Sir Henry Bellingham Photo: UK Parliament

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A west Norfolk MP has moved to reassure constituents that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn will remain open despite being branded as failing for a second time.

Sir Henry Bellingham, MP for North West Norfolk, said he had full confidence in the top team at the hospital to turn things around and pointed out chief executive Caroline Shaw had only been in post for a few months before the inspection.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) report released on Wednesday found the hospital "fell short of what people should be able to expect" in a situation the chief inspector of hospitals Professor Ted Baker dubbed "extremely concerning".

Sir Henry said: "It's disappointing because it's a hard hitting report from the CQC."

But he said new chairman Professor Steve Barnett,, Mrs Shaw, and a host of other new appointments to the hospital management would help improve things.

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

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Libby McManus was made chief nurse last week, Laura Skaife-Knight will join the trust as deputy chief executive in the autumn, and Chris Benham will start in January next year as director of finance and resources.

Three new non-executive directors have also joined the trust board.

Sir Henry said: "We need to see the impact of those senior management changes. So yes it's a disappointing report but I don't see it being a disaster. I think morale is high, I think staff are really dedicated."

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

Darren Barber, staff side committee chair at QEH, said yesterday: "I believe the pressure we are receiving from our regulators and our financial issues are not supporting staff in doing their jobs, nor providing them with the training or resources they need to do their jobs."

In response Sir Henry said the £20bn which Theresa May announced would be given to the NHS by 2023 would help the QEH .

He said: "I think the other point they can take away is the CQC make it very clear that the QEH has a bright future. They say it is a crucuial part of the community, there's no prospect of it being closed."

Prof Barnett said: "We are absolutely determined to get this right for our patients. What the trust needs now is stability, which changes to our leadership at board level will soon bring."

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