The Care Quality Commission has recommended that Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust comes out of special measures.
The Greater Manchester trust has been operating under the regime since it was included in Sir Bruce Keogh’s investigation into high mortality rates in 2013.
Following a visit in April this year, inspectors today said there had been significant improvements, particularly around governance, patient complaints and critical care services. It was given an overall rating of “requires improvement”.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt told HSJ it was “brilliant news” that the trust has been recommended to exit special measures, and praised the “massive and profound cultural change” at the provider.
Of the 11 providers placed in special measures after the Keogh review, Tameside will be the seventh to exit the regime.
The CQC today said North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust should remain in special measures, despite also being rated “requires improvement”.
According to guidance published by the Keogh review team, trusts would usually be expected to exit special measures within one year.
The other three providers still in special measures since 2013 are Sherwood Forest Hospitals FT, Burton Hospitals FT, and Medway FT.
The 2013 Keogh inspection at Tameside raised concerns about the care of emergency and deteriorating patients, staffing levels, patient experience and leadership. It was then rated “inadequate” by the CQC last year, due to serious concerns around critical care, medical care, and surgical and outpatient services.
Today, Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, said: “On our most recent inspection we have seen for ourselves that there is now a stronger culture which is committed to putting patients and safety first.
“The senior management team has led this programme of change, taking care to involve staff to ensure that this improvement is sustained. This is a credit to all the staff; we found them to be a highly dedicated workforce, committed to caring for their patients.
“But we can see that the trust has the systems in place to support this improvement and it is our view this is entirely within the trust’s grasp.”
He stressed that improvements were still needed to increase the number of doctors, improve patient flow, reduce overnight patient transfers, and ensure training and appraisals for nursing and medical staff were carried out.
Tameside’s former chief executive Christine Green tendered her resignation shortly before the trust was placed in special measures in 2013. She was replaced by Karen James, former chief operating officer at University Hospital of South Manchester FT.
The trust, based in Ashton-under-Lyne, said in a statement: “The outcome of the report… represents a significant step along our journey of improvement. We acknowledge that while excellent progress has been made, we must now use this as a platform to continue to improve, enhance and develop all of the services we offer to our patients.”
Tameside was loaned £14m by the Department of Health last year, to help manage its finances.