Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn placed in “special measures” - Your views

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is being placed in "special measures". Picture: Ian Burt

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is being placed in "special measures". Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant � 2004

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is being put in 'special measures', the EDP can reveal today.

The chair of the trust which runs it is resigning, while officials are being brought in to oversee improvements at the 500-bed QEH.

Health watchdogs have warned staffing levels at the King's Lynn hospital are inadequate, waiting times are too long and its financial performance is not satisfactory.

Findings of a review carried out by the NHS into both their findings and a recovery plan drawn up by hospital bosses are expected to be published this week.

Kate Gordon, chair of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Trust has written to MPs Henry Bellingham, Elizabeth Truss and Steve Barclay, whose constituencies are served by the hospital.

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She has told them the hospital is being placed in 'special measures' and she is standing down as chair. She addeds there will be further changes at board level and senior people will be brought in from elsewhere within the NHS to ensure that the QEH complies with regulator's requirements.

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said: 'It's quite dramatic news but I'm not surprised. Monitor and the Care Quality Commission did highlight a lot of areas of concern.

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'They have put the hospital in special measures because they don't have confidence in its recovery plans.'

The EDP understands that officals from two high-performing hospitals elsewhere are being brought in to oversee the QEH's recovery. Last night NHS bodies did not respond to requests for a comment, but Monitor - which oversees NHS foundation trusts - said it would not comment in advance of regulatory action. Mr Bellingham added: 'I have no doubt that the majority of staff at the QEH are highly-professional, highly-dedicated, highly-compassionate and they will make the recovery plan work.

'There could be a big silver lining to this cloud. We may get a better hospital at the end, better able to cope with the challenges of today's health service.'

The QEH was ordered to take action to improve in nine separate areas including storage of medicines and respecting patient privacy, dignity and independence, after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission in August.

A day later it was told that Monitor would also be using its regulatory powers to ensure it met the Accident and Emergency waiting time target of seeing 95pc of patients in four hours, which it had missed for three consecutive quarters.

Senior staff outlined how the QEH was addressing concerns over its performance at its AGM last month.

Chief executive Patricia Wright, who is due to leave the hospital shortly, said it would have to change the way it offered health care to reduce the time patients spent on wards and offer more care in people's homes.

David Stonehouse, the QEH's director of resources, said it expected to be £3m in the red by the end of the year.

Its annual report revealed the QEH treated 35,913 in-patients, carried out 33,353 day surgery procedures, dealt with 55,636 A&E admissions and delivered 2,291 babies last year.

Its AGM heard patients needing critical care were twice as likely to survive as anywhere else in the country, while maternity care is also among the safest in the entire NHS.

Ministers have agreed to give the hospital £3.9m to re-design its A&E department to speed up transfers from ambulances and cut waiting times.

Two years ago, the chair of the trust which ran the James Paget Hospital, at Gorleston, stood down after it failed two CQC inspections. A new chief executive was also appointed.

Inspectors re-visited six times over the following year and at one point it was warned it could face prosecution by the CQC if it did not make improvements.

The hospital set out plans to improve patient care and record keeping. Last year it was given a clean bill of health, but needs to save £20m to address with cuts in funding by 2018.

Have you been to the The Queen Elizabeth Hospital? Leave us your thoughts and views in the comment section below.

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