One of the UK’s largest NHS trusts has been taken out of special measures thanks to the “dedication and skill” of staff, a report has said.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has changed the rating for Cambridge University Hospitals Trust from “inadequate” to “good”.
It follows a visit by inspectors in September 2016.
The last major inspection in April 2015 exposed staffing problems and management failings.
The Trust, which runs Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie Maternity Hospitals, admits about 55,000 patients a year and treats a further 65,000 in A&E.
It is the eastern region’s main trauma centre and is renowned worldwide for its teaching, academic research and innovation.
Chief executive Roland Sinker said: “The recognition of the outstanding care our staff provide to our patients is a testament to their dedication and skill.
“We are on a journey and will learn from the findings of the report to make further improvements.”
The latest inspection covered eight main areas including surgery, critical care and maternity services.
Each was rated regarding safety, effectiveness, care, responsiveness and leadership.
Particular praise was singled out for the care administered by staff.
‘Slap on the back’
“There were a number of areas of outstanding practice and it was clear that staff and the trust leadership had worked hard to ensure improvement took place,” the report found.
It said senior staff described being put in special measures as “a wake up call”.
“The resulting improvements were evident in our inspection and in conversations we had with staff, who reported a more positive culture within the trust,” it added.
Dr Yezen Sheena, a burns specialist at the hospital, described the news as “fantastic”.
“It’s been pretty depressing to have the label of inadequate during quite a tumultuous year for the NHS,” he said.
“It is very good news for staff and morale, and for patients as well who can come in fully trusting and confident that their hospital is going to provide good care.
“It is a very difficult job to turn around an inadequate rating into a good or excellent rating in the background of the budget constraints that have been faced.”
Following September’s inspection, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards, said he was “recommending that Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is removed from special measures”.
NHS Improvement, which is responsible for putting trusts in and out of special measures, said the rating change was “fantastic news” and staff should be “proud of their achievement”.
Confirming the trust was officially out of special measures, Jeff Worrall, delivery and improvement director, said: “We will continue to support the trust as it seeks to build on the excellent progress it has made on behalf of its patients.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt posted a message of congratulations on his Twitter feed, saying it was an “incredible turnaround” for the trust.
He also sent a video to the trust telling staff it was an “extraordinary achievement” to come out of special measures and they had “responded magnificently”.
The CQC report marks a major turnaround for the trust after one of the most challenging periods in its 250-year history.
The public sector union Unison, which represents health workers, said the inspections had gone from a “slap in the face to a slap on the back”.
Spokesman Stuart Tuckwood said: “They have repeatedly gone the extra mile to help with improvements in their services.”
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