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CQC Recommends Trust Remains In Special Measures For Another 6 Months

Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust Should Remain In Special Measures For An Extra Six Months


The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has recommended The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust stays in special measures for another six months.

Concerns about care standards and mortality rates had led to the trust being placed into special measures in 2013.

However, a recent inspection has found that improvements are still required in many areas, including A&E, maternity and surgery.

As a result, chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards has decided it could benefit from staying in special measures for a while longer.

"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," he commented.

Sir Mike said he hopes that in six months' time, the trust will be able to demonstrate enough improvement to allow its special measures status to be reviewed.

He went on to insist that patients are entitled to be treated in facilities that are "safe, caring, effective, well-led and responsive to their needs". This, he stated, is what the CQC looks at when it inspects NHS trusts across the UK. 

Sir Mike added that the regulator will continue to keep a close eye on The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust and carry out further inspections.

Among the specific issues raised by the CQC regarding the body were concerns about how medical outliers are managed. The watchdog said a failure to track them effectively means appropriate monitoring and follow-up care is not always being provided.

The CQC also said the trust must make sure improvements are made in its surgery service, as capacity issues and the low availability of beds has led to several elective surgeries being cancelled.

Nevertheless, the regulator did stress there are some areas where improvements have been made. For instance, it said there has been "good progress" in strengthening the executive capacity of the board and "establishing a pace of change towards improving quality".

Expert Opinion
The inspection procedure is designed to ensure those medical facilities not offering the highest standard of care are able to identify failings and correct them. The fact that the CQC has seen fit to keep the King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust is special measures for an additional six months is very troubling. It is vital Trusts act to correct any failures highlighted by the CQC as soon as possible, which unfortunately has not occurred at the facilities operated by the King’s Lynn Trust.

“Patient care should always be a top priority and it is vital that the Trust now acts to ensure improvements are made in the areas highlighted by the CQC. A failure to do so could put patients’ health and safety at risk and we have seen first-hand the impact poor standards of care can have, with some individuals suffering severe consequences as a result of the sub-standard treatment they have received from the NHS.

“Therefore, we welcome the decision of the CQC to keep the Trust in special measures for another six months, as it is crucial improvements are carried out where necessary and patients are reassured they are getting the best treatment and care at the Trust’s facilities.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner

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