Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn remains in special measures
- Credit: IAN BURT
West Norfolk's main hospital has not improved enough to be taken out of special measures.
Health watchdog Monitor placed the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in special measures in October 2013, after inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised 'serious concerns' over low staffing levels and standards of care.
Today the CQC said while improvements had been made in some areas, the hospital still did not meet the required standard.
It said an inspection in July had found improvements were still needed in A&E, medical care, surgery, maternity and family planning, end of life care and outpatients.
The QE was rated as good with regard to whether services were caring and effective, requires improvement on whether it was safe and responsive and inadequate on whether the trust as a whole was well-led.
Prof Sir Mike Richards, the CQC's Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: 'We saw that staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust had been working over the last year to make improvements but clearly the trust still has some way to go before it reaches the required standard.
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'That is why I have recommended to Monitor that the trust remains in special measures for a further six months. I hope that, in six-month's time, the trust will be able to demonstrate enough improvement to review this again.
'People deserve to be treated in services which are safe, caring, effective, well-led, and responsive to their needs and this is what we look at when we carry out our inspections. We will continue to monitor this trust closely and this will include further inspections.'
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Concerns flagged up in July include operations being cancelled because of 'low availability of beds' and how the hospital keeps track of so-called 'outliers' – patients admitted for a medical reason who are placed on surgical ward – and ensures they receive the right care.
Staff across all grades and disciplines were seen to be caring, supportive and friendly towards patients. Patients told inspectors that staff were excellent, efficient and went the extra mile.