Medway NHS Foundation Trust out of special measures after four years

Media captionMoment staff at Medway NHS Foundation Trust were told it had come out of special measures

A hospital trust branded “inadequate” has been taken out of special measures after nearly four years.

Medway NHS Foundation Trust has made “substantial improvements”, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said.

Medway Maritime was one of 11 hospitals in England put into special measures following Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of hospitals in July 2013.

Previous inspections had highlighted concerns over patient safety, organisation and governance.

Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt said: “Some of the problems at Medway were deeply entrenched – which makes the achievement all the greater.”

Chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, checked the trust over five days at the end of last year.

In his inspection report, he said: “There is no doubt that substantial improvements have been made. The leadership team is now fully established and there is a strong sense of forward momentum.”

As part of addressing its problems, the hospital took up a successful buddying arrangement with Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and is now “good” for effectiveness, care and leadership.

It still “requires improvement” for safety and responsiveness.

Inspection summary

What’s good:

  • Management in the emergency department
  • Incident reporting culture
  • Mortality rates
  • Support for vulnerable patients

Need improving:

  • Staffing levels in emergency care and maternity
  • Training, annual appraisals, fire safety
  • Cleanliness in clinical area
  • Checks and maintenance of emergency equipment

Lesley Dwyer, chief executive of the trust, said: “I am so pleased the improvements we are all so proud of have been recognised. This is a great tribute to our dedicated staff and the fantastic job they do day in, day out.

“We acknowledge there is, of course, more to do. We have every reason to believe that we can build on this momentum and continue to improve.”

There were some elements of “outstanding” practice at the trust, the inspection noted.

The neonatal unit’s breast-feeding at discharge rate has soared while a new bereavement suite for families experiencing a still birth, critical care services and the treatment of patients experiencing broken hips were all highly praised.

The CQC is to return to check further improvements have been made.