The Care Quality Commission has recommended that Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn Foundation Trust should come out of special measures.
The trust was placed in the regime for failing NHS organisations by the regulator Monitor in October 2013, following concerns over poor care and weak leadership.
“This is the latest example of what can be achieved by a trust in special measures when there is a clear commitment to improve care quality”
It was the first organisation to enter special measures outside of the 11 trusts initially put in the failure regime based on a national review of mortality rates by NHS England chief medical officer Sir Bruce Keogh.
CQC inspectors visited the hospital trust in June. Their report said they “observed marked improvement in the quality of care being delivered by the trust”.
There was “no doubt that leadership of the trust is much stronger than in the past”. This “has helped to drive very considerable improvements in the quality and safety of patient care in a relatively short period of time”, it added.
Inspectors also found “significant improvements had been made throughout many specialties”, including the emergency department, medicine and surgery.
Urgent and emergency care, medical care and surgery were previously rated “requires improvement”, but have been upgraded to “good”.
However, inspectors also highlighted some areas of concern, including medicine storage, staffing levels and record keeping.
The trust was rated “requires improvement” overall, but rated “good” for the being effective, caring and well led. Its leadership had previously been rated “inadequate”.
Monitor must now rubber-stamp the CQC’s recommendation for the trust to leave special measures. It would be the eighth trust to come out of the regime, which currently contains 13 others.
The CQC had previously recommended that the trust remain in special measures following an inspection last autumn, saying that despite improvements it “clearly… still has some way to go before it reaches the required standard”.
“This marks a huge step on our journey towards excellence in patient experience and care and represents an incredible amount of work by staff at the trust”
Monitor also sent in a contingency planning team to the trust last year to develop options for securing sustainable patient services. It was only the third time the regulator had taken such a measure.
CQC chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards said: “This is the latest example of what can be achieved by a trust in special measures when there is a clear commitment from the senior leadership team to improve the quality of care, a concerted effort by staff and there is a package of support.”
The trust’s chair Edward Libbey said: “Clearly we are delighted the CQC has recognised the improvements we have made.
“This marks a huge step on our journey towards excellence in patient experience and care and represents an incredible amount of work by staff at the trust,” he said.
“That said, we are not complacent and we know we still have a substantial amount of work to do,” he added.