NHS Improvement has lifted several “regulatory undertakings” at one of England’s largest community and mental health trusts.

The regulator said Southern Health Foundation Trust is making “encouraging progress” in response to the Mazars report in 2016 which claimed there were serious failings in the way the trust investigated the deaths of vulnerable patients.

Several scandals of patients dying due to care failings have engulfed the trust in recent years, culminating in the departure of most its board.

In January, an external report by Niche Health and Social Care Consulting and Grant Thornton concluded that the trust had made significant improvements to its investigation processes and culture.

This report was commissioned as part of the undertakings placed on Southern Health by NHSI in 2016.

The other undertakings, that were lifted on Tuesday, related to the trust developing plans to implement the recommendations of the Mazars review.

Anne Eden, regional director of the south east for NHS Impovement, said: “This is encouraging progress which represents improvements in services for local patients.”

Nick Broughton, who became chief executive of the trust last autumn, said: “The audit findings published at the beginning of the year were very encouraging.

“NHSI’s actions today reinforce these findings and demonstrate that Southern Health is making genuine progress in changing the culture of the organisation to one that continuously improves and learns.

“We know we still have more to do and there will be further challenges ahead, but I firmly believe we are well on our way to creating an organisation that our patients and their families deserve.”

The trust remains subject to some regulatory undertakings, which relate to continuing to deliver improvements in areas highlighted by the Care Quality Commission after their 2016 inspection: engagement with patients and staff, and governance. 

Southern Health, which is rated as requires improvement, is one of England’s largest community and mental health trusts with an annual turnover of around £320m.