United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has been taken out of special measures by regulators after demonstrating that it had improved performance.
The NHS Trust Development Authority made the decision after the Care Quality Commission concluded that the trust had improved accident and emergency, surgery and outpatient services.
“I am always so proud of our staff’s dedication and commitment”
The trust runs four hospitals in the county. It was placed into the support regime for failing health service organisations in 2013, following a review into trusts with persistently high mortality rates by NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.
The decision means United Lincolnshire Hospitals has become first trust to leave special measures since five trusts were removed last July.
However, CQC chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards had previously said that, despite improvements seen during an inspection last April, the trust needed to remain in the regime.
While the trust has now been rated as “requires improvement” overall, the CQC’s latest inspection found key improvements made to individual services.
The trust was rated “good” on whether services were effective, well-led and caring. It was rated “requires improvement” on whether services were safe and responsive.
The ratings of many services have been changed from “requires improvement” in the previous inspection to “good”, including A&E services at Pilgrim Hospital and Grantham and District Hospital.
Hospital, surgery and outpatient services at the trust’s County Louth Hospital site have changed from “requires improvement” to “good”.
But the trust has been told that it must take action to ensure that there were sufficient “qualified and experienced” staff to care for patients’ needs.
“The trust still needs to make improvements and its leadership knows what it must now do”
The CQC also told it to ensure a trust-wide system was in place to monitor patients awaiting outpatient appointments.
Trust chief executive Jane Lewington said: “I am always so proud of our staff’s dedication and commitment to delivering compassionate and high quality care, but today I am beyond proud.”
“I cannot overstate the massive progress we have made as a trust over the last 20 months,” she said. “The CQC inspectors recognised the continuing improvements we’ve made to the quality and safety of our care.”
Sir Mike said: “Our inspectors found many improvements had been made and a number of areas of good practice, including the increased engagement between the trust board and medical staff.
“This is why I have recommended that the trust is now brought out of special measures,” he said. “There are, however, areas where the trust still needs to make improvements and its leadership knows what it must now do.”