Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn hits back at care quality report, which claims it has failed to meet basic care standards

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

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

A Norfolk hospital has hit back at a report saying it has been failing to meet basic care standards which ensure patients are treated appropriately.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn said the damning report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was compiled on the basis of a single visit in which inspectors spoke to 12 patients and a single relative.

The commission said the 500-bed hospital met just two of the basic care standards. It failed in terms of treating patients with respect, providing for patients' nutritional needs and proper record keeping.

Its standards for safeguarding patients from abuse and having appropriate staffing levels were deemed acceptable.

Only two of the 50 hospitals checked fared worse than the Queen Elizabeth. Two others failed in three categories.

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But in a statement last night, the QEH said: 'Inspectors from the CQC made an unannounced visit to the hospital on 14 August and observed the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and an acute medical ward.

'They spoke to 12 patients and one relative and found that, overall, people were very complimentary about the care and treatment.'

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It added improvements had been made since the commission's report had been made available to its board of directors, and the CQC's report said the failings would have only 'a minor impact' on patients.

The commission's report states: 'A minor impact means that people who use the service experienced poor care that had an impact on their health, safety or welfare, or there was a risk of this happening. The impact was not significant and the matter could be managed or resolved quickly.'

Gwyneth Wilson, director of nursing at the QEH, said: 'The report gives our patients reassurance that they are safe while in our care. They identified lots of good practice in relation to protected meal times and treating patients with privacy and respect. We accept, however, that improvements need to be made in our record keeping and that discussions with patients about their individual care need to be properly recorded. Since the inspection we have taken steps to ensure these extra safeguards are now in place.'

The CQC made another unannounced visit to the hospital on Monday last week to carry out a further inspection. An assessment report is expected next month.

Neither the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital or the James Paget University Hospital was included in the latest tranche of 50 hospitals to be inspected. Officials at both said they were found to be fully compliant in their most recent CQC inspections.

The West Suffolk Hospital was inspected and met all five standards, the report says.

The CQC said almost one in five hospitals does not meet basic care standards which ensure patients are being treated appropriately. Inspectors found 18pc of those inspected did not always meet the standards in 2012, compared to 12pc in 2011.

The CQC also inspected 500 care homes and found that 16pc were not properly respecting people's privacy and dignity and 17pc were not meeting standards on nutrition.

Care and support minister Norman Lamb, the MP for North Norfolk, said: 'Care home residents and hospital patients deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to have their wishes and preferences respected.'

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