You are here

King's Lynn trust recommended to come out of special measures following improvements in care

30 July 2015
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals is recommending that Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust in Norfolk is the latest trust to come out of special measures following a recent inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Since it was introduced over two years ago to help support trusts to make improvements in the quality of care for patients, seven trusts have been taken out of special measures.

Professor Sir Mike Richards and his inspectors found sufficient improvements across most of the services – particularly in medical care, in the emergency department and in the overall leadership – to make the recommendation to Monitor, the body responsible for Foundation Trusts.

If Monitor accepts the recommendation, Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn will be the eighth trust taken out of special measures since the regime began in July 2013.

Commenting on the report published today (30 July) Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC's Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: "I am pleased to be able to make my recommendation to Monitor to take Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust out of special measures.

"This is the latest example of what can be achieved by a trust in special measures when there is a clear commitment from the senior leadership team to improve the quality of care, a concerted effort by staff and there is a package of support.

"There have been improvements in most of the services we looked at. Our inspectors particularly noted the new leadership which has a clear vision and strategy for the future of the trust. Strong leadership is vital for any service to improve.

"There is good communication throughout the organisation and the morale and culture of the organisation has improved. This has, I have no doubt, led to the improvements in the quality of care as we found staff were kind, caring and compassionate towards patients.

"There is still further work to do, particularly to bring maternity services up to the same standards. I hope the trust continues the momentum so that all services are providing the level of care which the people who live in King’s Lynn and the surrounding area deserve."

The trust was placed into special measures in October 2013 following CQC's inspection which identified serious failings in leadership and the quality and safety of care.

A further inspection in July 2014 rated the trust as Requires Improvement, but there was a recommendation by the Professor Richards to extend the time in special measures.

Following the inspection in June 2015, the trust remains rated as Requires Improvement overall but its rating for how well-led it is has improved from Inadequate to Good. Also, the CQC has rated the trust as Good for its services being caring and effective. It is rated as Requires Improvement for its services being safe and responsive.

CQC has rated Queen Elizabeth hospital as Requires Improvement overall, and Good for its services being caring and effective.

The inspectors noted some outstanding practice:

  • The children's waiting area in the emergency department, whilst small, was well designed to be responsive to children who visit the service.
  • There is a clear commitment of midwifery staff to develop effective midwifery services as staff work in different areas to maintain their knowledge and skills.
  • Relatives and staff told us the paediatric team were well organised and provided a good service for the children and families.

However, there are some areas that need to improve:

  • Medicines need to be securely stored at all times
  • Resuscitation trolleys need to be checked in accordance with the trust policy and resuscitation council guidelines
  • There needs to be accurate records of patient care
  • Staffing needs to be in line with national guidance. This includes: registered children's nurses in the emergency department, patients requiring non-invasive ventilation, paediatric staff on the children's ward and endoscopy medical staffing
  • There needs to be a robust governance system to assess, monitor and improve the quality of services

CQC will return in due course to check that improvements have been made.


For media enquiries about the Care Quality Commission, please call either Martin Spencer on 020 7448 1698 or Helen Gildersleeve on 0191 233 3379 during office hours.

Also, follow the team on Twitter for the latest national announcements: @CQCPressOffice.

Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here. (Please note: the duty press officer is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters).

For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

  • The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is a 488 bed general hospital which, together with 12 cots in the newly-refurbished neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), provides healthcare services to West and North Norfolk, in addition to parts of Breckland, Cambridgeshire and South Lincolnshire.
  • The trust was put into special measures in October 2013 following an inspection in August 2013. We carried out a comprehensive inspection between 1 and 3 July 2014 and recommended the trust should remain in special measures for an extended period.
  • The latest inspection took place between 9 and 11 June 2015
  • For further information about the special measures regime for NHS trusts, please read our special measures guide.
  • The thirteen trusts that are currently in special measures are:
    • Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
    • Barts Health NHS Trust
    • Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
    • Colchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
    • East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
    • Hinchingbrooke NHS Trust
    • Medway NHS Foundation Trust
    • Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
    • North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
    • Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
    • Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
    • University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
    • Wye Valley NHS Trust
  • The seven trusts which have been taken out of special measures are:
    • Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
    • Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
    • East Lancashire NHS Trust
    • George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust
    • Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals (now dissolved, but part of Frimley Health)
    • North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust
    • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.