• Sherwood Forest Hospitals will support Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn as part of the NHS Improvement scheme
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital placed in quality special measures for second time in September
  • Sherwood Forest previously spent 27 months in special measures

A foundation trust which has dramatically improved care quality in recent years has been buddied with a troubled organisation 80 miles away.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust is to buddy up with Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn Foundation Trust to provide quality improvement, clinical and governance support, it has been announced.

Sherwood Forest was rated “good” overall and “outstanding” for care by the Care Quality Commission in August, and will now support Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which was placed in quality special measures for the second time in September.

QEH’s chair and chief executive have both left over the past two months.

The buddying arrangement, which is an NHS Improvement scheme, will initially last for 12 months. Sherwood Forest will focus on supporting QEH in the three identified areas.

Sherwood Forest previously spent 27 months in special measures, before being rated “requires improvement” in 2016 and “good” this year, but it continues to have financial problems.

Sherwood chief executive Richard Mitchell said: “The hard work of staff over the last three to four years at Sherwood has delivered huge improvements to the care we provide our patients, and I hope the way we support our staff.

“Buddying up with Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn gives us a great opportunity to spread our learning, as well as learning ourselves from another hospital trust. At Sherwood we recognise there are many areas we can further improve.”

QEH acting chief Nick Lyons said it was “very positive” that the trust is being buddied up with Sherwood as the trust “understands the challenges we are facing here”.

The QEH’s 2017-18 income was £186.4m – substantially below the national average – while Sherwood Forest’s was £304.7m.