Hospital 'short-staffed' and 'care not always effective'

The Care Quality Commission is calling for improvements at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Photo: ITV News Anglia

A hospital in Norfolk has been ordered to improve after failing to meet national care standards. It follows an inspection by the Care Quality Commission in May.

The CQC criticised the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn for issues including staff shortages and poor record-keeping. The hospital trust says steps have already been taken to improve care.

The hospital has 515 beds and provides a range of acute services for people in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.

The CQC report highlighted that improvements are required in the following areas:

  • Treating people with respect and involving them in their care
  • Providing care, treatment and support that meets people's needs
  • Caring for people safely and protecting them from harm
  • Standards of staffing
  • Quality and suitability of management
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital says it's taking action to improve services. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The inspection team said it spoke to more than 60 patients and the inspection report said:

"Many of them told us the wards were short staffed and care was often delayed. Although some actions had been taken by the trust to address the issue they had not had sufficient impact. We found that care was not always effective. This was because the trust did not adequately promote the welfare of patients who lacked capacity and it was not clear how 'best interest' decisions were being made about their care and treatment.

The Chair of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Trust, Kate Gordon said:

“We are obviously very concerned by the findings of the CQC inspection. Our aim is always to provide safe high quality care and we are very sorry that, in some cases, patients, carers and families have experienced poor care. At the time of, and immediately following the inspection, we took action in response to concerns raised and were able to provide evidence to reassure the inspection team straight away.

"We want to reassure them and the wider public that we have, and are and continuing to take action to address the concerns the CQC have raised.”