Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust has become the second trust to leave the special measures regime.

The trust was one of 11 put into special measures last summer following inspections by NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh of trusts with unusually high mortality rates.

The NHS Trust Development Authority removed it from special measures following a recommendation from the Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards.

The care regulator inspected the trust’s three main hospitals in March and has published its report today.

The CQC said the trust had made “significant improvements in a number of areas”. All three hospitals and the trust as a whole were awarded an overall rating of “requires improvement”, although at each site the regulator rated the caring attitudes of staff as “good”.

Since the Keogh review inspection the trust has implemented an improvement plan that has included recruiting 200 more nurses and additional consultant cover.

Sir Mike Richards said: “We recognise that Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust has worked hard to improve since being placed in special measures last year. 

“Importantly the trust has made real progress to meet the requirements of the Keogh review, at the same time as developing a quality improvement strategy with three aims – to reduce mortality, reduce harm, and improve the patient experience.

“New services have been introduced and services reorganised to manage the flow of patients through the hospital and improve emergency care.  We found that staff at all levels were positive about working for the trust. They told us that real differences had been made in a relatively short time with a sharpened focus now on quality and safety. 

However he added “there is still much more to do” and said risks around staffing levels, discharge planning and managing patient flow remained which the trust needed to address. 

Stephen Dunn, director of delivery of development at the TDA said: “This is excellent news for the patients and staff at Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust and is recognition of the hard work and scale of improvement that has been achieved. It shows that the support that this trust has had can make a real difference to improving the quality of services. 

“However, there is still work to be done before the trust no longer needs support. It is absolutely crucial that they are able to maintain the momentum and focus that got them this far and continue to deliver improvements for patients.”

The trust will continue to receive the support of the improvement director appointed to it under the special measures regime, and will also continue its “buddying” arrangement with Salford Royal Foundation Trust.

Trust chief executive Anne Eden said: “Today marks a really important step in our quality improvement journey. This has been a challenging year for us, but we have taken our responsibilities very seriously and I have been heartened by how tirelessly staff have worked to improve standards to ensure our patients are offered the safe and compassionate care we strive for.”

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust was the first provider to leave special measures earlier this month.