Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust has become the second trust to leave the “special measures” regime for organisations that are deemed to be failing on quality.
The trust was one of 11 put into special measures last summer following inspections by NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh at trusts with unusually high mortality rates.
The NHS Trust Development Authority removed Buckinghamshire from special measures following a recommendation from the Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards.
“I have been heartened by how tirelessly staff have worked to improve standards”
The care regulator inspected the trust’s three main hospitals in March and published its report today.
The CQC said the trust had made “significant improvements in a number of areas”. All three hospitals and the trust as a whole were awarded an overall rating of “requires improvement”, although at each site the regulator rated the caring attitudes of staff as “good”.
Since the Keogh inspection, the trust has implemented an improvement plan that has included recruiting 200 more nurses and additional consultant cover.
Sir Mike Richards said: “We recognise that Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust has worked hard to improve since being placed in special measures last year.
“Importantly the trust has made real progress to meet the requirements of the Keogh review, at the same time as developing a quality improvement strategy with three aims – to reduce mortality, reduce harm, and improve the patient experience.
“We found that staff at all levels were positive about working for the trust,” he said. “They told us that real differences had been made in a relatively short time with a sharpened focus now on quality and safety.”
However, he added that “there is still much more to do”, and said risks around staffing levels, discharge planning and managing patient flow remained which the trust needed to address.
Stephen Dunn, director of delivery of development at the TDA said: “This is excellent news for the patients and staff at Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust and is recognition of the hard work and scale of improvement that has been achieved.
“However, there is still work to be done before the trust no longer needs support. It is absolutely crucial that they are able to maintain the momentum and focus that got them this far and continue to deliver improvements for patients.”
The trust will continue to receive support from the improvement director appointed to it under the special measures regime, and will also continue its “buddying” arrangement with Salford Royal Foundation Trust.
Trust chief executive Anne Eden said: “This has been a challenging year for us, but we have taken our responsibilities very seriously.
“I have been heartened by how tirelessly staff have worked to improve standards to ensure our patients are offered the safe and compassionate care we strive for,” she said.
Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust was the first provider to leave special measures earlier this month.