Health leaders praise hard work and commitment of staff as NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board progresses out of national support

1st March 2024

NHS England has confirmed that NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB) is no longer in NHS oversight framework (NOF) segment 4 and has been removed from the Recovery Support Programme (RSP), formerly known as “special measures”.

NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB entered the national RSP in August 2021 due to quality, performance, and financial reasons. The RSP provides a collaborative, system-focused approach for supporting providers and systems with the toughest challenges.

Following a period of sustained improvement, NHS England has confirmed that the recommendation to move the ICB from segment 4 (mandated intensive support) to segment 3 (mandated regional support) has been agreed.

This is due to improvements achieved in quality, urgent and emergency care (UEC) performance and finance. However, it was recognised there is still much that needs to be done to embed these improvements and make sure that they are sustained.

Key improvements across the NHS in Norfolk and Waveney include:

  • Key quality improvements and progress at two of the system’s providers. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn NHS Trust exited special measures in April 2022 and last February the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust moved from a CQC rating of Inadequate to Requires Improvement.
  • Sustained improvement in performance in urgent and emergency care services, to include the establishment of virtual wards at all three acute trusts.
  • Improvements in discharge planning and patient flow, helping to reduce the length of time people stay in hospital, decreasing their need to be readmitted and improving their overall experience.
  • Significant and sustained improvement in ambulance response times and handovers, enabling ambulances to quickly get back on the road so they can get to the next person who needs help.
  • A system wide reduction in the longest waits for people who require a mental health bed, with further ongoing improvements planned.
  • Greater efficiencies and progress against financial plans through closer collaborative working with partners.

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive Officer, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the hard work and dedication of our 27,000 NHS staff working in Norfolk and Waveney has been recognised, and that together we have made the improvements needed to exit the Recovery Support Programme. This is just the first step of our ambition to improving individual services for local people and making the whole health and care system work better together to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives.  There’s much to do over the coming months and years, but I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who is working so hard in health, care and public services across Norfolk and Waveney.”

Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, Chair, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board, said: “This is a tremendous demonstration of the hard work and commitment of NHS staff working together to improve local health services. It also reflects the strong partnership that we have been developing within the NHS and with many other partners including colleagues in local government; voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations; and residential and domiciliary social care. I want to thank everyone involved. We know there is a great deal more to do to support people to live longer, healthier and happier lives. But I hope that today’s achievement will give everyone confidence that, by working together, we can continue to improve and ensure that all our residents get the high quality, integrated care they deserve.” 

Clare Panniker, Regional Director for NHS England, said: “This is really great news for the region and our patients. While there is still work to do, the big improvements recognised here come as result of relentless hardwork from all involved to tackle the specific issues faced by Norfolk and Waveney. NHS England will always support ICBs and Trusts to provide better healthcare outcomes to patients and residents of the East of England, and this success shows we can achieve that by working together in a structured way that improves services for all.” 

For more information about the Recovery Support Programme please visit: