Health secretary Jeremy Hunt lauds Colchester hospital trust for CQC result

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt with Colchester MP Will Quince during a visit to Colchester General Hos

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt with Colchester MP Will Quince during a visit to Colchester General Hospital. Picture: WILL QUINCE'S OFFICE - Credit: Archant

Jeremy Hunt has praised the trust that runs Colchester’s hospitals for demonstrating an “extraordinary turnaround” in performance.

The health secretary made the remarks on social media after the organisation was pulled out of the scrutinising special measures regime this month for the first time in four years – what he described as a “fantastic achievement”.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has raised Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (CHUFT) from the worst possible overall rating of ‘inadequate’, to ‘requires improvement’.

Inspectors say the trust is “on a journey to ‘good’”, with leaders aware of the actions they need to take to get them there.

The chief officer of North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Sam Hepplewhite, has also lauded CHUFT for the achievement.

She said: “We are extremely pleased to see this recommendation from the CQC and delighted to see the trust has made such significant improvements resulting in this move. On behalf of the CCG, I would like to congratulate all the staff and the leadership team for all their efforts.

“We were particularly pleased to see recognition that inspectors had seen many examples of managers and senior staff who were actively engaged in seeking solutions to further improve levels of care for patients.

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“The CCG, and the wider local health and social care system, will continue to work with the trust to make the improvements that are needed.”

In January 2016, four out of five areas of inspection were rated ‘inadequate’ at CHUFT. Now, three are ‘good’ and two are ‘requirements improvement’.

A change in leadership at CHUFT has been cited as one of the reasons for the trust’s advancement.

In May 2016, two bosses from Ipswich Hospital - chief executive Nick Hulme and chairman David White - were appointed the same roles at CHUFT.

Mr Hulme has said CHUFT is now delivering “patient-focused services”.

Talks are underway about Colchester General Hospital merging with Ipswich Hospital, with a final decision set to be made in June next year.

A provider is placed into special measures when it is rated inadequate by the CQC and it means it is kept under close review to ensure urgent improvements are being made.