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Colchester trust set to exit special measures after ‘significant improvements’

The CQC has recommended that the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust be removed from special measures, which it has been in since 2013.

During an inspection in August the regulator found significant improvements in the quality of the troubled service and has raised its rating to ‘requires improvement’.

Colchester had previously been placed in special measures due to concerns about patient care in cancer services and has since suffered from a number of setbacks.

In 2015, the CQC used its urgent enforcement powers to protect people using the hospital’s services following the results of multiple inspections.

As a result of the recent recommendation from the regulator the trust must make continual improvements to a number of services but have shown clear improvements across all services.

“I am very pleased to be able to recommend that Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation trust exits special measures,” commented Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals.

“When we returned to conduct our inspection, we found considerable improvements had taken place. We found a strong leadership team, which engaged positively with a staff that was committed to ensuring change took place and we witnessed significant improvements across all of the trust’s services.

“The chief executive and managing director had created stability in the senior executive team that we had not previously seen. We also saw many examples of managers and senior staff who were motivated and engaged in seeking solutions to drive through further improvement.

“While there is still work to be done at the trust, reflected in its overall rating, there is no doubt that much positive change has taken place. This is testament to the hard work and commitment of staff and the trust’s leadership, and they are to be congratulated for what they have achieved.”

Colchester Hospital is still expected to improve in certain key areas, such as staff training, document processes and record-keeping, and equipment maintenance.

Trust chief executive Nick Hulme said: “This is a significant achievement and I would like to personally thank our staff for everything they have done to improve the care we provide.

“We have had excellent support from our partners in the health and social care system locally as well as from the NHS in the region and I am very grateful for that.

“A strongly performing hospital is simply a better place to work as well as a better place to be treated.

“When I arrived in 2016, I said this is about more than just the CQC and we needed to concentrate on doing the right thing for our patients. Today’s news shows that patient-focused services deliver better care.”

The CQC and NHS Improvement had previously recommended Colchester to be merged with Ipswich Hospital FT in 2016. An earlier inspection also found worrying racial divides between overseas, black and minority ethnic nurses and UK staff. This prompted concerns about patient care and a troubling management structure.

Top image: Nick Ansell PA Wire

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