The Care Quality Commission has lifted two of three conditions on the licence of Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust.
Five conditions were imposed on 1 April, when the licence was issued. Last November the regulator highlighted problems with infection control, cleanliness in accidence and emergency, and high mortality rates at the trust, which attracted widespread media attention.
The CQC announced today it was lifting two conditions after an unannounced inspection in July showed improvements in staff supervision and appraisal, and training to prevent patient deterioration.
However, during the inspection it said it also identifed a need for improvement in the additional areas of patient discharge and staff training to deal with violent and abusive behaviour. No new conditions have been imposed for these areas but the regulator said it would be monitoring them.
A further two conditions, about evidence of inpatient assessment and maternity support, had already been lifted after inspections in May.
The CQC said whether the trust had met the final condition – to show it has reduced the risk of patients contracting legionellas – would be assessed soon.
CQC regional director Frances Carey said: “There have been major problems at this trust in the past, so we intend to keep it under close scrutiny for some time to come.
“The trust has made progress against the conditions applied during registration. But we have recently identified that there is still more to be done on certain aspects of staff practices and training. The trust must address these concerns and we will be monitoring them to make sure they do.”
He added: “We would like to thank the staff, patients and visitors who gave us frank and honest accounts of care at the hospital. We will continue to keep a very close eye on standards of care and won’t hesitate to take action if we see standards slipping back.”
Trust chief executive Alan Whittle said: “I want to thank all staff, whose determination and dedication have ensured that this second important milestone has been achieved. The CQC has been met with openness and transparency by all of us at the trust and we have applied the results of its assessments to improve our services to patients.
“At a visit in July, the CQC did identify two minor concerns; one around the documentation of patient discharge plans and the other a need to ensure all A&E staff have specific training in dealing with violent or aggressive patients. We are currently addressing those issues and will provide the CQC with a further progress report shortly.”
In the past two weeks the CQC has removed all conditions on the licences of Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust.