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Former nurse takes over running of Norfolk special measures trust

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Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust has appointed an experienced health service leader and former nurse and midwife as its new chief executive.

Caroline Shaw, currently a senior board member at Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust, will take up her new role at the struggling rural district general hospital on 14 January.

“I’m passionate about creating the right culture and conditions for building a happy workforce”

Caroline Shaw

She started her NHS career as a nurse before moving into midwifery and has more than three decades experience at trusts around the country, including Leicester, Nottingham and Manchester.

She received a CBE from the Queen in 2013 and was tipped as being in the running to become chief nursing officer for England in 2012 – the role that subsequently went to Jane Cummings.

Ms Shaw, who is deputy chief executive and chief operating officer at Nottingham, will step into the role at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, following the departure of Jon Green earlier this month.

Mr Green, who was appointed chief in February 2017, has been seconded to neighbouring Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The Norfolk hospital provider was placed back in special measures in September, after the Care Quality Commission’s decision to rate the trust “inadequate”.

The trust said it “fully accepted” the CQC’s latest findings, which rated it “inadequate” in the safe and well-led categories, “requires improvement” for effectiveness and “good” for caring.

Particular problems were highlighted by the regulator in urgent and accident and emergency care, maternity care and medical care – with issues often linked to staffing levels.

Inspectors found the A&E department did not always have systems in place to ensure staff were able to “identify and respond appropriately to changing risks” to their patients, said the CQC’s report, which was published this week.

“Caroline has a proven track record of continuously improving organisations and getting results”

Steve Barnett

In addition, the numbers and skill mix of nursing and medical staff were “not always suitable” for the needs of the emergency department. Learning from serious incidents was “not always robust”.

In maternity, there were safety concerns linked to risk assessment procedures, care planning for high-risk women, equipment and drugs monitoring, and mandatory and safeguarding training.

The £182m-turnover trust was first placed into special measures in October 2013, but was taken out in summer 2015 after the CQC upgraded its rating from “inadequate” to “requires improvement”.

Meanwhile, it sparked controversy last month when plans were floated to send its cancer patients to a hospital 40 miles away for elective procedures, in a bid to address staffing and capacity problems.

In a statement announcing Ms Shaw’s appointment, trust chair Steve Barnett said: “We are delighted with this appointment.

“We are very fortunate to have attracted someone of Caroline’s calibre to take our organisation forward,” he said. “Caroline has a proven track record of continuously improving organisations and getting results.

“She is passionate about transformation and has an unwavering focus on improving patient and staff experience,” he added.

Speaking of her appointment, Ms Shaw said: “I very much look forward to joining Team QEH and getting to know the organisation and its staff and I’m excited about leading the organisation on its journey of improvement.

“I’m passionate about creating the right culture and conditions for building a happy workforce and always putting patients first,” she said.

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