King’s Lynn hospital’s progress impresses Health Secretary on visit
- Credit: Matthew Usher
A west Norfolk hospital that was placed in special measures 18 months ago is making progress and patients should be encouraged by the commitment of its staff and management, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said today.
Mr Hunt paid a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital following concerns raised by watchdogs about inadequate staffing levels, too long waiting times and its unsatisfactory financial performance.
Mr Hunt, who was accompanied by North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, met senior management, and then went on a tour of the A&E department.
He said he was impressed with the hospital's progress since it was placed in special measures.
'I think this hospital has a great future,' he said. 'I'm absolutely delighted they have turned things around. The management is new and the staff are committed and motivated.
'It's not my decision, but I hope it will come out of special measures before too long. I think the people of King's Lynn should be really encouraged by the motivation and commitment being shown by staff and management.'
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His visit came on the same day that staff at the hospital and across the region were set to join colleagues in a nationwide strike. But the 12-hour strike over pay was called off and union leaders said a new pay offer of 1pc for all NHS health workers would now be voted on.
Mr Hunt added: 'The unions have been very responsible in the approach they have taken. They understand that with three quarters of a hospital's pay bill being salaries, too big a pay award would have been counterproductive.'
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The hospital's chief executive Dorothy Hosein said this month they had taken on 60 nurses from the Philippines and the future looked bright.
Darren Barber, Unison branch secretary at the QEH, said: 'I told Mr Hunt that I felt we were not now a hospital in special measures, but a recovering hospital.'
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