Patients have been reassured that King’s Lynn’s  Queen Elizabeth Hospital is a place where they can feel safe and be treated with dignity.

The message comes from interim chief executive Dr Manjit Obhrai who told Your Local Paper on Wednesday that  “significant progress” has been made following the damning Care Quality Commission inspection last August.

In reassuring patients, Dr Obhrai admitted more work still had to be done but the hospital was “on track” after being given until the end of 2013 to bring about urgent improvements in key areas.

Staffing levels have been improved and measures were taken to cut patient waiting and assessment times.

Measures have also been taken to improve the management of medicine with the appointment of two new pharmacists.

Dr Obhrai said measures are in place to make sure the Gayton Road hospital meets the needs of patients better this winter than last year.

He said morale was positive at the hospital and people are more “energised”.

“When you have a challenged organisation people do feel low but going round the hospital it is very positive in terms of the way we are dealing with this.

“Staff are feeling better because numbers are better. We are freeing up senior leaders in each ward and we are also working towards a clinically-led organisation.”

The £1.6 million allocated for improvements to the Accident and Emergency department is scheduled for a middle of March completion with nine more cubicles for patient assessment and three more consultants.

Paediatric assessment within the unit is also being improved.

Speaking in general about the failing areas, Dr Obhrai said nursing levels are now one to eight in the daytime and one to 11 at weekends and evenings.

He said wards are better staffed but more recruiting is still to come.

He said progress had been made in safeguarding for vulnerable patients and he praised the union, Unison, for its imput with this.

With regard to monitoring the quality of service, a new person has been appointed to look after the whole CQC programme.

“We have made significant progress but in certain areas we can do better than we are,” said Dr Obhrai.

“Our  job is to be totally transparent and honest. More work has to be done and we have got to work together to get it right.

“This is a safe hospital where people can be treated properly and with dignity.”

Dr Obhrai vowed the hospital would not become complacent and he thanked staff and the community for playing their part.

“The hospital still carries on. Yes we have got improvements on-going and we continue to strive to improve services for patients and that is not going to stop. Once the Care Quality Commission is lifted we will still carry on. There is no room for complacency.

“A big thank you to all the staff for making a huge effort. There is also a community element. If we all work together we can achieve a lot.”

. The hospital was placed in special measures last year by regulator Monitor and new managers were appointed to oversee the major changes.

These included the appointment of Dr Obhrai who was the medical director who turned around clinical performance at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust.

“There is also a community element. If we all work together we can achieve a lot.”

Dr Obhrai said representatives of the Care Quality Commission could re-visit the hospital at any time, unannounced to check on progress.

The hospital was placed in special measures last year by regulator Monitor and new managers were appointed to oversee the major changes.

These included the appointment of Dr Obhrai who was the medical director who turned around clinical performance at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust.

A catalogue of failings were highlighted at the time including some patients waiting on trolleys and being cared for in corridors, a lack of staff as well as qualified and skilled staff to meet patients’ needs.

Some medicines were out of date and had been stored incorrectly.

There was evidence that some parts of the service had not been well led and criticism of systems in place to deal with complaints and record keeping.

Action was taken swiftly afterwards to recruit more staff.