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Princess Alexandra boss: 'this is a hospital in distress'

Video report from ITV News Anglia's Serena Sandhu

Bosses at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, have accepted conditions were not perfect, but they insist staff were offering good care in tough circumstances.

The hospital went into special measures after being rated "inadequate" by the health watchdog.

"What comes with special measures is a realisation that this is a hospital in distress and they need to support it and work with us.

I have the greatest confidence that out of adversity we will move all of our services to good and outstanding."

– Nancy Fontaine, Deputy Chief Executive of Princess Alexandra Hospital

With shrinking budgets and increased pressures, it's not the only hospital in the East of England facing significant problems.

The trusts running Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge and Colchester Hospital are also in special measures.

Some health trusts have been taken out special measures after making major improvements: Basildon and Thurrock, Norfolk and Suffolk mental health services, Hinchingbrooke Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn.

Princess Alexandra Hospital in special measures: MP reacts

Robert Halfon MP, Harlow, Conservative Credit: ITV News Anglia

The MP for Harlow has been reacting to the decision to put the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow into special measures. Robert Halfon says that despite its difficulties, the hospital has 'several areas of outstanding practice'.

“I have seen first-hand that the staff and the management team at Princess Alexandra Hospital work incredibly hard and do an amazing job for Harlow residents. As MP, I get many emails and letters from residents who have had an excellent and caring service from our hospital."

– Robert Halfon MP, Harlow

The MP says there are four major problems the hospital faces.

  • It had more A&E admissions per head than almost anywhere else in the country
  • The age of the building means parts of it are unfit for purpose and it needs constant financial assistance to keep it going
  • The long term future needs to be looked at
  • Recruitment is a challenge because Harlow's close proximity to London and Cambridge. There is a 50% nurse vacancy rate in some wards.

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Mental health trust comes out of special measures

The trust had been put into special measures in October 2014.

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has come out of special measures, the health watchdog has announced.

The mental health trust was rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission in October 2014, which meant it had to be put into special measures.

Inspectors returned to trust in July and August this year and found improvements had been made. However, there were still areas where it “fell short of the standards people should be able to expect”.

The trust has now been given an overall rating of “requires improvement”.

“Our return to Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust showed significant improvement had taken place. This is reflected in the trust’s new rating.

There clearly remain areas where further work is needed, in particular with regard to how the trust manages risks to people’s safety, but we found considerable and positive change had taken place."

– Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission

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