Media Release

New leaders determined to turnaround The QEH

Leaders have vowed to turn around The Queen Elizabeth Hospital after it was rated as Inadequate for a second time, and remains in Special Measures following its latest Care Quality Commission inspection.

QEH remains one of 12 Trusts in England in the support regime “special measures”, with the following individual ratings:

  • Safety – Inadequate
  • Effective – Inadequate
  • Caring – Requires Improvement
  • Responsive – Requires Improvement
  • Well-Led – Inadequate

And now, the Trust’s recently-appointed Chairman and Chief Executive, Professor Steve Barnett and Caroline Shaw, who joined the Trust shortly before this inspection, have described the determination of the Trust’s new leadership team to turn the organisation around.

Chief Executive, Caroline Shaw, said: “We welcome the CQC’s feedback and are using this to put in place the right foundations to make the sustainable changes that are necessary to ensure the consistent delivery of safe and quality care that our patients deserve.”

The Trust was issued with two urgent notice of decision to impose conditions on its registration under Section 31of the Health and Social Care Act 2008. These related to the regulated activities:  Treatment of disease, disorder or injury, Assessment or medical treatment for persons detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 and Diagnostic and Screening procedures.

Work is underway to make the improvements needed to meet the Trust’s legal requirements, which included making immediate changes to ensure our ED is safe for patients who may have mental health issues.

Significant concerns were raised in 2018 regarding our Maternity Services, leading to enforcement action. The latest CQC report recognises the progress that has been made in this area with Maternity’s overall rating moving up to “Requires Improvement”. Specific improvements in this area include: the new Community Midwifery Hub at North Cambridgeshire Hospital in partnership with Cambridge Community Services; breast feeding support workers; and strengthened leadership and medical staffing and arrangements.

Caroline added: “I know how hard our staff are working and how passionate they are about what they do and the care they provide. Our staff told CQC inspectors that as a senior leadership team there is more we must do to better support, value and recognise their contributions; feedback which we are acting on.”

Professor Steve Barnett, Chairman at QEH, said: “People should not lose sight of many things that QEH does well and the improvements we are committed to making by working together. The Trust has recently taken steps to strengthen its leadership at Board level, with a new, experienced Executive Team that will soon be in place, the appointment of three highly-qualified and experienced new Non-Executive Directors and a Board development and leadership programme for the Trust.

“We are absolutely determined to get this right for our patients. There are some success stories, lots of work in progress and also some very real challenges that we have begun tackling. What the Trust needs now is stability, which changes to our leadership at Board level will soon bring. I am confident that through all of the changes we are making, and with the determination from our staff across the Trust, that there is a bright future ahead and that even though we are on a long journey, our progress will begin to show when the CQC return.”

Melanie Craig, Chief Officer for Norfolk and Waveney’s CCGs and Executive Lead for the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), said:

“Caroline and Steve are making a real difference to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Caroline’s work only began in earnest a few weeks before the CQC inspections took place and we are already seeing positive change as a result of the improvements she has made. The Trust has also brought in a very strong management team, which the CQC recognises is a really positive step forward.

“We recognise there is much more to do and that to address the challenges the hospital faces we need to work effectively together as a partnership of local NHS and care organisations. There is a real commitment from the Trust and the new team and other local health and care organisations to work in partnership. We remain fully supportive of the hospital and its staff, who continue to do a fantastic job.”

Alex Stewart, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Norfolk – the consumer champion for Health and Social Care in the county – said: “Whilst the report is extremely disappointing, I am confident that since the CQC Inspection, the newly-arrived Chairman and Chief Executive have already made a considerable impact and I am optimistic that as the new Executive Team start in post that further progress will be made given the significant experience they will bring to the Trust.

“Healthwatch are working closely with both patients and hospital staff to identify and share issues of concern with senior managers who are both listening and being responsive. Healthwatch will continue to work with all the partners and remain fully supportive of the Trust and those providing excellent healthcare to our local communities.”

Full details of the ratings, including a ratings grid, are given in the report published online at:


 Notes to Editors

 A number of wider improvements have taken place since the Trust’s September 2018 report, including:

  • Introduced the Surgical Extended Recovery Unit (SERU) which has allowed us to complete 25% more operations compared with the first quarter of last year. The 12-bed unit is staffed by Theatres Recovery Nurses who are caring for people who only need a one-night stay in hospital after their surgery.
  • Medical nurses leading a Stop the Clock campaign, which has supports safe ward transfers and resulted in a significant period of days without any oxygen related incidents.
  • Appointed 81 nurses from the Philippines who will be arriving over the coming months to support our staffing levels.


  1. We have strengthened the Trust’s Executive Team with substantive appointments as follows:
  • Libby McManus joined last week as Chief Nurse. Libby was previously Chief Transformation Officer at The Royal Free Hospital, London. Before that she was at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where she had some time as Interim CEO.
  • Laura Skaife-Knight will join in the autumn as Deputy Chief Executive with staff engagement in her portfolio. Laura joins QEH in October from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) where she currently holds the position of Director of Communications and External Relations, working at Board and Executive Team level. With over 15 years’ experience working at a senior level for acute Trusts in the East Midlands, including NUH, Derby Hospitals and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Laura has a national reputation in her field.
  • Chris Benham joins the Trust in January 2020 as Director of Finance and Resources from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, where he has been the Director of Operational Finance for four years. Before that he was Deputy Director of Finance at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust for three years. Chris joined the NHS as Assistant Director of Finance at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust in April 2009.


  1. Three new Non-Executive Directors have joined the Trust Board:
  • Dr Ian Mack worked in the NHS as a doctor in West Norfolk for most of his working life, after joining The QEH King’s Lynn as a House Physician in 1985. He was a GP in West Norfolk between 1992 and 2017 combining this with commissioning work in the then West Norfolk Primary Care Trust. He is currently the Vice Chair of the Board of Alive Leisure, a Charity which runs sports, arts and leisure facilities in West Norfolk.
  • Simon Roberts, is a healthcare specialist working as a Senior Advisor for the NHS England System Transformation Group, supporting Clinical Commissioning Groups, Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and wider health and social care systems/Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) to develop capabilities that enable health and social care service integration. He has valuable experience in commerce and industry.
  • Dr Siobhan McClelland has a wealth of experience both in academia, where she has worked on projects across the world, and in the Health Service. She has held key positions on the Aneurin Bevan Health Board and at a Welsh ambulance Trust.

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