PERFORMANCE: 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 by Monitor in October 2013 following concerns over poor care and weak leadership. It was the first organisation to enter special measures outside of the 11 Keogh review trusts.

Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards said there was a ‘clear commitment’ from the trust’s leadership to improve care

Inspectors visited the hospital 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”.

King’s Lynn would be the eighth trust to come out of special measures. Thirteen others remain in the regime.

The CQC previously recommended 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”.

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.”

Trust chief executive Dorothy Hosein said: “When I came into post in November 2014 I was very blunt that we would require at least six months to prepare for inspection.

“In this short timeframe it has been a challenge but clearly the CQC saw positive changes and we are… on our journey towards excellence.

“We adopted an evidence based approach to our preparation for the inspection. This approach meant that we were able to clearly demonstrate to inspectors that we understand every aspect of our hospital and have control of it.”

This story was updated at 2.45pm with comment from the trust.