Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn

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Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (also known as the QEH) is an acute NHS District General Hospital located in the town of King’s Lynn in Norfolk, England. It is located on the outskirts of King’s Lynn, to the eastern edge of the town. The catchment area of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital covers the West Norfolk area, South Lincolnshire and North East Cambridgeshire, an area of approximately 1500 km² and 250,000 people. The hospital has approximately 480 beds at time of writing, although the number of beds can vary – due to seasonal pressures e.g. norovirus. At full capacity, the hospital has around 574 beds. The Hospital employs around 2400 staff and has around 100 volunteers, making it the biggest single employer in the town.


Locally the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is often known as “The QE” or “the QEH”. It is occasionally (and incorrectly) referred to as “The Queen Elizabeth II Hospital” – however, the hospital is named after Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon), not the current Queen.


In February 1998 the Queen Mother was taken to the QE after she fractured her hip at nearby Sandringham, then later transferred to The King Edward VII Hospital in London. In January 1999, the Queen Mother was again taken to the QE Hospital after a series of nosebleeds, where they cauterised her nose. The Queen was taken to the QE Hospital in January 2003 after she had problems with her knee, where they performed a scan, and she was transferred to The King Edward VII Hospital in London for an operation to remove torn cartilage. During her golden jubilee in 2002, the queen who usually spends accession day in private at Windsor Castle, opened the QE Hospital’s £1.2 million Macmillan Cancer Unit. Various members of the Royal Family have visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital over the years, including Princess Anne who opened the £5 million Critical Care Unit in 2005. On 01 February 2011, the hospital was awarded Foundation Trust status.


The hospital site contains the main hospital building, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which is a two-storey building and was opened in 1980. In addition to the main hospital building, the site houses The Fermoy Unit, an adult mental health unit opened the same time as the main hospital building, The Arthur Levin Day Surgery Centre, which was opened on 11 January 1999, the Roxburgh Children’s’ Day Centre, which provides outpatient care for children and a comprehensive GUM clinic opened summer 2008. The Fermoy unit and the Arthur Levin Day Surgery Centre are both joined to the main hospital building by a long service corridor. Also on the site is the private BMI Sandringham Hospital.The main hospital building has two small shops, a modern coffee bar and upstairs restaurant for patients, visitors and staff.


The Hospital provides a comprehensive range of patient services, including: Cardiology, Dermatology, Diabetic Medicine, ENT, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, General Medicine, General Surgery, Geriatric Medicine, Gynaecology, Nephrology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Paediatric Neurology, Paediatrics, Rheumatology, Thoracic Medicine, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery and Vascular Surgery. It also has a full Accident and Emergency department, and adult mental health service based in the Fermoy Unit. Thoracic Surgery, Neurology and Plastic Surgery are provided by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, in Norwich, and Renal Dialysis provided at the QEH is an out reach on the Nephrology service in Cambridge. The hospital has MRI and CT scanners on site for imaging and diagnosis. There are 7 operating theatres and 19 inpatient wards. The wards are all named after local villages and towns. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in partnership with UEA Norwich is also a teaching hospital and offers facilities such as lecture theatres and two libraries for use by the students.


The Care Quality Commission formerly the Healthcare Commission reviews hospitals annually and rates a hospital on two points: “Use of Resources” (which is based on finances) and “Quality of Service” (which is based on clinical performance). These two points are rated on a scale of “weak”, “Fair”, “Good” and “Excellent”. Latest results are expected before Christmas 2009. In the 2007/08 Healthcare Commission’s review, it rated the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s “Use of Resources” as “Weak” and “Quality of Service” as “Good”. The “weak” rating for use of resources was due primarily to the hospital’s debts, now all cleared. The “good” rating for quality of service is indicative of its clinical performance and waiting times. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has good patient satisfaction rates, is nationally acknowledged for its infection control excellence and arrangements for keeping patients safe. The Accident and Emergency department in the hospital is rated at the best at hitting the four-hour target in the East of England, treating 98.6% of all patients within the 4-hour guideline. The Arthur Levin Day Surgery Centre is consistently ranked amongst the top in the country. MRSA rates are now also amongst the best in the country, with the biggest reduction. Research by a consultant at the QEH, Professor Lyn Liebowitz, have led to a dramatic reduction in MRSA cases, and is now assisting the Department of Health to reduce MRSA in other hospitals.


The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is in a healthy financial state after a few years of financial turmoil. The hospital is currently applying for Foundation Status, and if successful the hospital could have foundation status in 2010. This will mean it will have more control over its own finances and the way the hospital is run..


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