St George’s Healthcare Trust has become the first to have its foundation trust application approved by the Trust Development Authority since the Care Quality Commission revamped its inspection regime.

The approval follows the south London trust receipt of a ‘good’ rating by the CQC last month.

All trusts seeking foundation status must be first rates as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by the CQC as well as receiving the support of the TDA.

Monitor will now assess whether the trust is well run, meets the required quality threshold and is financially viable.

Although NHS London agreed to “fast-track” the trust’s FT bid in September 2012, the process has been held up by the need to receive a rating under the new-style CQC inspection regime.

The CQC’s most recent report found that patient complaints were acted upon. Inspectors received particularly postive feedback from patients in the maternity and critical care units.

Two areas where the trust must improve were also pointed out.

Inspectors found that medical records were not always available for staff in outpatient clinics. Some staff were also unsure of procedures related to the Mental Capacity Act.

In the last five years the trust has turned around a large deficit and repaid a debt of £34m.

The TDA has identified several areas that the trust will have to work on to ensure it gets through the final stages of FT assessment.

These include improving its A&E performance against the four-hour waiting time target and putting together a robust operating plan for the next two years.

Chief executive of St George’s, Miles Scott, said: “These are exciting times for St George’s and I am delighted that the hard work and expertise of our staff has been recognised in this way.

The level of scrutiny for to get the next stage of our Foundation Trust application, particularly on clinical care, is higher than ever. I am proud of the standards our staff reach on a daily basis and that we have sustained the improvements made over recent years.

“We are committed to keeping quality as our guiding principle, even though the financial challenge is tough.”

Director of delivery and development at the TDA, Alwen Williams, said: “The CQC’s recent findings demonstrate that staff at St George’s have worked hard to ensure they can provide a high quality of care for the patients they serve.

They also have a strong business case looking to the future. It’s now important that they continue to focus on improving and we will support them to prepare for the next stage of their journey; the assessment by Monitor.”