Norfolk hospital told to take urgent action following inspection

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has apologised after a damning report from the Care Quality Commission.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has apologised after a damning report from the Care Quality Commission. - Credit: IAN BURT

Bosses at a Norfolk hospital have been told to take urgent action to improve after the health regulator found that it had failed to protect patient safety and welfare.

Inspectors at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn was not meeting the national standards of quality and safety following an inspection in May.

Today the chair of the trust which runs the hospital apologised and promised a full independent review.

The regulator called on the NHS foundation trust to take action to improve in nine areas, including respecting and involving people who use services, consent to care and treatment, care and welfare of people who use services, cooperating with other providers, management of medicines, staffing, assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision, complaints and records.

The hospital was ordered to put together an action plan on the inspection findings by August 17.

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A report was published by the CQC today following unannounced inspections at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on May 14, 15 and 22.

The inspections were carried out in response to concerns that some of the national standards of quality and safety were not being met at the hospital.

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Inspectors found there were not enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet the needs of patients and care records were not always complete, accurate or accessible.

Inspectors observed the care that a number of patients received over a short period of time on one ward. On three occasions when patients rang call bells, staff were too busy to respond and people had to wait for long periods of time for assistance.

Andrea Gordon, deputy director of operations for the CQC, said: 'Although our inspectors saw some good practice, the failings we found at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are a real concern.'

'CQC has been working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people receiving this service and we have told the trust changes need to be made.

'We have been working closely with our partner agencies with regard to the trust and we will be closely monitoring its progress on the improvements it needs to make.

'Our inspectors have returned to the hospital to check additional concerns which we have recently been informed of, and the details of this inspection will be published online in due course.'

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss called for action to be taken 'as a matter of urgency' following publication of the inspection report.

'Residents in South West Norfolk deserve the very best in their hospital care and today's report by the CQC is of great concern. The report highlights a number of failings including key areas such as the management of medicine and the availability of suitably qualified staff. Patients want to be reassured that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is capable of providing safe and efficient treatment and I want to know that action is being taken as a matter of urgency with a review of operational procedures fully under way.'

Kate Gordon, chair of the trust which runs the QEH, said: 'We are obviously very concerned by the findings of the CQC inspection. The trust has welcomed the CQC and its partner agencies views and is fully engaged in addressing the concerns raised.

'Our aim is always to provide safe high quality care and we are very sorry that, in some cases, patients, carers and families have experienced poor care.

'At the time of, and immediately following the inspection, we took action in response to concerns raised and were able to provide evidence to reassure the inspection team straight away. We want to reassure them and the wider public that we have, and are and continuing to take action to address the concerns the CQC have raised.

'The Board has commissioned an independent review of its systems and processes to ensure that when issues of concern are raised management action is in place to address them.'

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