QEH in King's Lynn formally out of special measures

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn
Accident and Emergency entrance

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn Accident and Emergency entrance - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A Norfolk hospital has been given formal confirmation that it has left special measures.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn was rated "inadequate" by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2019 after inspectors raised concerns over staffing levels, patient safety and leadership.

But last month, staff were told the CQC had rated the 500-bed hospital "caring, effective and well-led" after follow-up inspections.

Now NHS England has written to the QEH, to confirm it no longer needs ‘mandated intensive support’ from its regulator.

The final confirmation comes as the icing on the cake for hospital staff, who have managed to turn around its fortunes through the teeth of the pandemic.

Staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.

Caroline Shaw, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (front centre), with staff in the Critical Care Unit, which was rated "outstanding" by the Care Quality Commission. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw said: “I am thrilled that our regulator has formally confirmed the trust’s exit from the recovery support system following our recent CQC inspection.

“Their formal confirmation that the Trust has made significant progress to allow us to exit the recovery support system is the next important step in our improvement journey.

“That said, we are in no way complacent and know there is still much to do as we enter the next phase of our improvement journey, whilst ensuring we continue to sustain and embed the changes we have made over the last three years.

“I hope alongside our recent CQC report that this gives confidence to our patients, their families and the local community that QEH is an organisation very much on the up where they can have confidence in and receive the very best care.

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“I would like to thank our staff and the local community for their ongoing support – without which this would not have been possible and restate our determination to continue on our journey of improvement so that we can see QEH go from strength to strength and achieve our ambition to be the best rural District General Hospital for patient and staff experience.”

NHS England said: “We will continue to work closely with them and support them as they continue to improve their services.”

The QEH is still waiting to hear whether it will be included on a shortlist of hospitals which will be given money for a new-build by the government after an announcement expected last month was delayed.

Plans are being drawn up to expand the A&E unit, which is no longer fit for purpose.