Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust has become the first trust to come out of special measures after a Care Quality Commission inspection rated the trust “good”.
Chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards recommended Monitor remove the Essex trust from special measures after the inspection found “significant improvements”.
“Our staff have worked tirelessly over the past year to raise standards and put care and compassion at the heart of everything we do”
The trust was one of 11 to be put into special measures following NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of trusts with persistently high mortality rates almost a year ago.
It found concerns about staffing levels and the trust’s complaints procedure.
In a statement Monitor said the trust would be released from the additional scrutiny associated with special measures but would continue its “buddying” arrangement with Royal Free London Foundation Trust.
Sir Mike Richards said the CQC has confidence in the trust’s leadership.
Adam Cayley, regional director for Monitor, who was also the improvement director for the trust during the special measures process, said:
“Patients are benefiting from the great improvement at the trust. The decision we’ve taken today is a reflection of the hard work that staff at the trust, with Monitor’s support, have put in to making the hospital a better place for local people.
“But this isn’t the end of the story. We want to make sure that the trust keeps on improving and that these improvements last.”
The trust is still in breach of its foundation trust licence for failing to consistently achieve the four-hour accident and emergency target.
Sir Mike said the trust had made improvements in a number of areas and its maternity service was now rated outstanding.
He said: “Some improvements are however still needed, so the trust cannot be complacent.
“But, as the trust has moved forward and made improvements across its services, the CQC has confidence in the trust’s leadership to continue to work to make further changes for the good of its patients.”
Trust chief executive Clare Panniker was appointed in September 2012. She replaced Alan Whittle who led the trust for more than nine years.
Special measures involves high level scrutiny of trusts and additional leadership support. It was announced by Jeremy Hunt in the wake of the Keogh review and is used where there are serious concerns about a trust’s performance and its ability to make improvements.
The CQC can recommend an organisation is put into or taken out of special measures but it is for Monitor to decide whether to take action in the case of foundation trusts, and the NHS Trust Development Authority in the case of trusts.
Ms Panniker said: “Today marks the end of an era and the start of a new exciting chapter for our trust when we can once more be confident – as the regulators now are – in the quality of our care.
“Our staff have worked tirelessly over the past year to raise standards and put care and compassion at the heart of everything we do,” she added.