Coronavirus: Toll rises at West Norfolk hospital bringing number of deaths to 118

Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn where 118 people have died from coronavirus.. Picture: QEH

Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn where 118 people have died from coronavirus.. Picture: QEH - Credit: Archant

Four more people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) at King’s Lynn.

At the QEH, three of the latest deaths occurred on May 6, with one death on May 5, bringing the total number of deaths to 118.

To date 186 people who have received treatment for coronavirus have been discharged from the QEH.

Caroline Shaw, chief executive of the QEH, said: “The deaths of four patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 have been confirmed today – three men and a woman between the ages of 76 and 92.

“On behalf of the Trust, I would like to offer my condolences to their relatives and loved ones.”

A report to a board meeting at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital says there are signs that the numbers of new Covid-19 cases are slowing.

The paper, by Mrs Shaw, said the welfare of patients and staff remains its top priority.

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Mrs Shaw adds: “We have maintained our supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), though we know our staff remain incredibly anxious about provisions, particularly in light of the shortage in some parts of the country.

“Our highest priority is ensuring the safety of our staff and patients. We will always ensure that staff can access the PPE they need and feel safe enough to do their jobs.”

Writing in a Sunday newspaper, Mrs Shaw said nothing in her 35-year NHS career had prepared her for the death of Chrissie Emerson, a healthcare assistant at the QEH who died in its intensive care unit after testing positive for the virus.

“I know just how hard Chrissie’s death has hit QEH, she adds in her board report.

“I am deeply grateful and impressed at the way our staff have pulled together to support one another during what have been a difficult few weeks.

“Thank you to all staff for their superb teamwork, recognising many colleagues are not working with their usual teams presently, having worked part of a shift on critical care, I have been so impressed.”

Mrs Shaw said the hospital had received 390 applications to return to work from former nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants. Nurse vacancy levels, which were criticised by the Care Quality Commission when it put the hospital in special measures 18 months ago, are now among the lowest in the country.

Mrs Shaw’s report to Tuesday’s meeting concludes: “The rapid transformation we have seen at QEH and across the wider NHS over the past few weeks has been remarkable. “Once again, I pay tribute to all of our staff for their dedication and commitment during what I know are incredibly tough times.

“There are signs that the numbers of new Covid-19 cases are slowing and while we are by no means complacent, we are already working hard to develop robust and sustainable recovery plans.”

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