King’s Lynn hospital chief denies Labour claims that it turned away patients

Dorothy Hosein takes on the role of CEO at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after three months in an int

Dorothy Hosein takes on the role of CEO at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after three months in an interim capacity. - Credit: Archant

The new chief executive of King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital has hit back at Labour claims it had 'turned away' patients

Its chief executive Dorothy Hosein released a statement today saying that it had 'never turned away patients from the hospital, or closed the Accident and Emergency', after shadow health secretary Andy Burnham cited hospital woes in the House of Commons this week.

The following day his leader Ed Miliband rounded on the Prime Minister telling him the NHS is at 'breaking point' because King's Lynn was telling patients not to turn up.

Earlier this month a woman from Downham Market who broke her back in a fall from a horse, faced a 40 mile trip to hospital, where she was left in an ambulance for a hour.

The ambulance service said she had to be taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge because the nearest hospital – just 11 miles away at King's Lynn – was 'very busy'.

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But the hospital claimed at the time that it was more appropriate for the patient to be transferred to a major trauma unit at Addenbrooke.

In at statement today Mrs Hosein said: 'The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn has never turned emergency patients away from the Hospital and has certainly never closed the Accident and Emergency department.

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'There were two recent situations when the hospital experienced extremely high demand and had incidents of Norovirus. In line with national practice on both occasions an alert was triggered and infection control measures were put in place. Local GPs and media were contacted to advise them of the situation.

'At such times, to contain spread of infection it is normal practice for acute Trusts to ensure patients are aware that if they have suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea in the previous 72 hours or suffered minor injuries or illness they should in the first instance contact their local pharmacy, GP or the NHS 111 telephone helpline and avoid visiting the hospital if possible.

'The Accident and Emergency department remained open throughout and all patients were seen.

'The Hospital is also supporting a local public awareness campaign, jointly developed with the CCG and local heath partners called 'choose me, not A and E' which looks to raises awareness of the support that local pharmacists, GP's and NHS 111 telephone helpline can offer as an alternative to a Hospital visit, for minor injuries and illness.'

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