Hospital and mental health trust bosses say improvements are being made since being placed in special measures
PUBLISHED: 14:29 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:01 17 January 2019
Bosses from the region’s mental health trust and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King’s Lynn have said improvements have been made since they were placed in special measures.
During an inspection at the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) in September last year, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found patients needing care were put on a long waiting list, with some in desperate need resorting to self-harm or overdoses during delays.
In the same month, the QEH was rated inadequate by the CQC after it found a breakdown in the relationship between senior leaders and staff and between consultants and midwives.
At a health overview and scrutiny committee meeting at County Hall on Thursday, QEH chief executive Caroline Shaw, who began her role officially on Monday, said changes in leadership has helped to address some of those problems.
Councillor Alex Kemp asked for assurances that cancer patients from the QEH would not be sent to Norwich for treatment, which hospital chairman Professor Steve Barnett said was “a suggestion that came outside of the trust”.
He added: “It was never a proposal that was formulated internally. We came up with our own plan, took that up with the board, got it approved and sent off.”
The NSFT also applauded the trust’s efforts in making improvements since November, stating a reduction in the number of patients being downgraded from urgent to routine - from 25 to three in four weeks - and a 7pc reduction in the number of people waiting for treatment longer than 18 weeks.
Chief executive of the NSFT Antek Lejk said this was achieved through a ‘four-week sprint’ in which a particular area within the trust for four weeks before moving onto another.
The first four week of this new approach was focused on minimising risk for service users, with plans in place for crisis referrals to be seen face-to-face within four weeks.
Committee chairman councillor Michael Chenery of Horsbrugh praised the NSFT in West Norfolk who have eradicated their long waiting list - stating last year there were 200 on the list and this year there were none.
Mr Lejk said: “That local team are very proud they have got through that waiting list through their own efforts by really focusing on keeping people safe.”