Coronavirus cases ‘slowing’ in west Norfolk

Queen Elizabeth Hospital CEO Caroline Shaw. Picture: Ian Burt

Queen Elizabeth Hospital CEO Caroline Shaw. Picture: Ian Burt

Ian Burt Photography

Coronavirus infections could be past their peak in part of Norfolk, health chiefs will hear today.

A report to a board meeting at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn says there are signs that the numbers of new Covid-19 cases are slowing.

The paper, by its chief executive officer Caroline Shaw, said the welfare of patients and staff remains its top priority.

Mrs Shaw adds: “We have maintained our supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), though we know our staff remain incredibly anxious about provisions, particularly in light of the shortage in some parts of the country.

“Our highest priority is ensuring the safety of our staff and patients. We will always ensure that staff can access the PPE they need, and feel safe enough to do their jobs.”

Writing in a Sunday newspaper, Mrs Shaw said nothing in her 35-year NHS career had prepared her for the death of Chrissie Emerson, a healthcare assistant at the QEH who died in its intensive care unit after testing positive for the virus.

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“I know just how hard Chrissie’s death has hit QEH, she adds in her board report. “I am deeply grateful and impressed at the way our staff have pulled together to support one another during what have been an incredibly difficult few weeks.

“Thank you to all staff for their superb teamwork, recognising many colleagues are not working with their usual teams presently, having worked part of a shift on critical care, I have been so impressed.”

Mrs Shaw said the hospital had received 390 applications to return to work from former nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants. Nurse vacancy levels, which were criticised by the Care Quality Commission when it put the hospital in special measures 18 months ago, are now among the lowest in the country.

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Mrs Shaw’s report to Tuesday’s meeting concludes: “The rapid transformation we have seen at QEH and across the wider NHS over the past few weeks has been remarkable. Once again, I pay tribute to all of our staff for their dedication and commitment during what I know are incredibly tough times. There are signs that the numbers of new Covid-19 cases are slowing and while we are by no means complacent, we are already working hard to develop robust and sustainable recovery plans.”

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