Now Kings Lynn hospital is placed in special measures over 'unsafe staff levels'

Chief executive and chairman replaced with 'hit squad' of high-performing health service officials

Health Reporter

Another hospital has been placed in special measures after inspectors discovered it had been running for at least two months with potentially unsafe staffing levels.

The chief executive and chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn NHS Foundation Trust have been replaced with a "hit squad" of high-performing health service officials tasked with urgently improving patient safety.

The foundation trust regulator Monitor took action after poor standards at the hospital were highlighted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following inspections earlier in the year.

The watchdog looked at staffing levels at the trust between 21 June and 13 August and found there had not been a single day on which the hospital had operated with the required number of staff.

The CQC also highlighted a lack of training in relation to dementia care and poorly performing risk management procedures, which it said was "putting patient care at risk".

It is the first NHS trust to be placed in special measures under a new crackdown on failing hospitals, other than the 11 hospitals with higher-than-normal death rates which entered following the Keogh review in July.

The new regulatory regime for hospitals takes inspiration from the Department for Education's "super-heads" programme. The trust will also be "buddied" with a high-performing partner, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, which will send senior staff to assist with reforms at the Queen Elizabeth.

Health Minister Lord Howe said that the Government was determined to create a "safer NHS" in which "substandard care will not be tolerated".

However, Labour accused the Government over cuts to nursing posts and said the dangerously low staffing levels seen at Kings Lynn were affecting other hospitals too.

"Hospitals across the country are in the same position," said the shadow health minister Jamie Reed. "David Cameron has placed hospitals on a financial knife-edge and another 450 nursing jobs were axed last month alone. Experts warned him of the central importance of nurse numbers in providing safe care, but he is forcing hospitals across England to operate without safe staffing levels."

The Royal College of Nursing has called for safe staffing levels and a number of reports, including Sir Bruce Keogh's review, also highlighted the problem. However, the Government has rejected calls to legislate on minimum staffing levels for wards.

The hospital was placed in the highest risk band by the CQC in a review of performance across all 161 NHS trusts published this week.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals said: "The failings we found at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn were unacceptable on more than one occasion.

 "The concerns we found, coupled with information from our partner agencies and other regulators, were so great we felt it was necessary to request that Monitor intervene and place the trust in to special measures to assist in driving through improvements for patient care.

 "CQC will continue to monitor this trust closely and our inspectors will be returning unannounced to check on whether improvements have been made and standards are being met."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Lettings Coordinator / Office Support Administrator

    £20000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This London Bridge based estate...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Advisor - Print

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based just north of York, this ...

    Recruitment Genius: SEO Account Manager

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map