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Hospital could set up nursing school to boost recruitment

Carolione Shaw, chief executive at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn  Picture: Chris Bishop

Carolione Shaw, chief executive at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

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A new nursing school could be set up to boost recruitment at a Norfolk hospital, as it pledges to pull itself out of special measures.

Health Education England, which oversees nurse training, has pledged to fund 1,500 extra training places across the country to help address a national shortage.

Caroline Shaw, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, said it was in talks with the College of West Anglia over whether nurses could be trained in Lynn.

The QEH was placed in special measures after it was rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission, which visited the hospital in 2018. That rating was upheld after a follow-up inspection in March.

The CQC highlighted lack of nursing staff on some wards at the 480-bed QEH. Ms Shaw, who joined the hospital in January, said 190 of the 1,000 nursing posts at the hospital were currently vacant.

She said around 81 nurses from the overseas had been recruited, with 16 in post and the remainder due to join the QEH shortly.

Ms Shaw said other problem areas highlighted by the CQC including end of life care, record keeping and patient care were being addressed.

She said she expected the hospital to be out of special measures in around two years' time.

"It's a lovely place, it could be a lovely hospital," she said. "It's got a brilliant community who love the hospital. It's an amazing place, it could be one of the best trusts in the NHS."

Ms Shaw said managers were improving engagement with staff to help retain workers. Staff awards - which were scrapped to save money - have been brought back.

"If you have happy staff, you have happy patient care," she said.

The QEH is looking at promoting the benefits of living and working in west Norfolk, using staff who have come to work at the hospital as case studies.

Ms Shaw said the hospital was also looking at setting up a new career path from nursing assistant, to nurse associate to qualified nurse, in a bid to attract more people into the profession.

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