Queen Elizabeth Hospital taking years over £13m deficit

Queen Elizabeth hospital, King's Lynn Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption Health regulator Monitor put the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, in special measures in October 2013

A Norfolk hospital will take years to repay a £13m budget deficit but will not shut, its chief executive has said.

Dr David Dean has led Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn since it was put into special measures by NHS watchdog Monitor last year.

The hospital failed to provide adequate care and missed waiting time targets in accident and emergency.

The local trades council said a case should be made to increase funding at the hospital, not bring in more cuts.

NHS campaigner Jo Rust, secretary of King's Lynn and District Trades Council, said cutting services means reduced access to health care for people in West Norfolk.

"No-one is making the case for increased funding at the hospital which is suffering because of £10.1m efficiency cuts."

'Short supply'

Dr Dean, on secondment from Guy's Hospital in London, said when he arrived at the hospital the impression was given that everyone was "rushed off their feet".

He said more nurses and better management systems has now given staff more control, but A&E remained a concern mainly because of the difficulty in recruiting consultants.

"These specialists are in short supply and most prefer urban hospitals so bringing them to rural Norfolk is a challenge," Dr Dean said.

"When they come they stay. I have done three long service awards for senior staff since I arrived. "

The hospital is small but not under threat of closure, he said.

"The nearest suitable hospitals are 40 miles away at Peterborough, Cambridge of Norwich but the Queen Elizabeth may lose some specialist services."

The hospital has a commitment to reducing budgets annually by 6.4%.

But Dr Dean said those cuts won't clear the deficit.

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