Hospital says 'sorry' to patients who caught Covid on wards

Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn

Dealing with critically-ill Covid patents has placed "immense pressure" on staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital - Credit: QEH

A Norfolk hospital is apologising to patients who caught coronavirus on its wards and the families of those who died from the virus.

Caroline Shaw, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King;s Lynn, said it had started a "duty of candour exercise" for all patients who became infected. Precise numbers have not yet been made public.

Ms Shaw told a meeting of the hospital's ruling board 67 patients had been contacted so far and the response had been positive.

In a report to board members, she said: "We have now commenced the first phase of our duty of candour exercise, which involves the trust proactively contacting and writing to every patient who contracted Covid-19 in our care, or the next of kin for those patients who sadly died, to ensure that they are aware that their loved one is believed to have caught Covid-19 in hospital and to ensure that they know we are very sorry for this."

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings LynnThe Chief Executive of the QEH Caroline Shaw

The results have been welcomed by Queen Elizabeth Hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Ms Shaw said those affected would receive a call from "specially trained clinical staff".

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She added: "It is anticipated that around 300 patients or next of kin will be contacted over the next few weeks. This exercise is our opportunity to explain to our patients and their families the actions we are taking, and any lessons learnt.

"It is also an important way of fully discharging our duty of candour responsibilities, and commitment to openness and transparency with our patients and their families."

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Ms Shaw's report said 194 props were now in place to support parts of the hospital roof.

She added: "The trust continues to receive the backing of local MPs, regional media and other external influencers for its bid to secure a long-term solution to the challenges posed by an ageing estate."

She told the meeting: "The case for a new hospital is not just about the roof, it's about the facilities and the ability to deliver modern healthcare."

The QEH hopes it will be one of eight hospitals allocated funds for a new build after a government spending review in November.

More than 6,000 have now signed the EDP's online petition calling for the hospital to be replaced. 

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