North Cumbria Hospitals NHS Trust to exit special measures

Cumberland Infirmary
Image caption The Trust runs two main hospitals in Carlisle and Whitehaven

A Cumbrian hospital trust placed into special measures following a review into high death rates is to come out of the failure regime after four years.

North Cumbria University Hospital NHS Trust was one of 11 highlighted in a report made in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire scandal in 2013.

NHS Improvement said it had achieved "major improvements in the services it offers patients".

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) warned there is still "work to do".

Health officials announced an investigation into 14 trusts with higher-than-expected mortality rates following the publication of the public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire scandal.

After the review - which concluded that thousands more patients died than would have been expected - it was announced 11 trusts were to be put in special measures.

North Cumbria is the last of those trusts to have the status removed.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Some services at the West Cumberland Hospital face being downgraded after a recent review

CQC inspectors made the recommendation that the trust should come out of special measures following an inspection in December, but said it is still "requiring improvement" as unfilled vacancies and cancelled operations remain a concern.

A CQC spokesman said: "In the past two years there have been significant changes to the senior management team.

"They have worked well together, with external support, to address the issues identified in both Sir Bruce Keogh's Review and in our subsequent inspections.

"Although there has been progress, particularly in the effectiveness of the services being provided, there is still a lot of work to do."

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "North Cumbria is the final one of the original 11 trusts first placed in special measures to exit the regime, and we know there had been entrenched problems there for some time beforehand.

"That makes the accomplishment all the greater and is another step on the road to making the NHS the safest, most transparent health service in the world."

NHS Improvement added: "It is a huge achievement to have exited special measures, which is reflected in the improved experience and compassionate care that patients receive at the trust."

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