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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
film
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
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: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

    Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Day In a Page

    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing