Under-fire Tameside hospital has improved

Tameside General Hospital
Image caption The CQC has lifted the hospital's licence restrictions

A hospital in Greater Manchester which was criticised for high death rates has improved, a health watchdog has found.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said on 1 April that Tameside Hospital NHS Trust was not meeting standards for staffing and the welfare of patients.

It gave the trust one month to boost staff numbers to meet the needs of patients at Tameside General.

The CQC has lifted the two conditions it imposed on the hospital's licence but said it must continue to improve.

The trust said its mortality rates have reduced, and are in line with other hospitals.

The CQC carried out an unannounced inspection of the hospital in March, after listening to the concerns from patients.

'Significant improvements'

It found the hospital did not have "adequate systems" in place to ensure there were enough staff with the right skills and experience at ward or department level.

The CQC gave the trust one month to ensure there was a sufficient number of staff to meet the needs of patients, and that systems were in place to manage and co-ordinate staff.

Inspectors returned to the hospital for an unannounced visit on 16 June.

Sue McMillan, regional director of the Care Quality Commission in North West England, said: "We arrived at the hospital unannounced, so we could see the wards as patients do.

"We noted significant improvements to the quality and safety of care since our last inspection in March.

"Patients were broadly positive about their care and we received very few negative comments from patients, visitors or staff.

"However, we did identify some instances in which care was not to the standard it should have been.

"While we have removed the conditions from the trust's licence, we expect to see continuing improvements in staffing, making sure patients get the right nutrition, discharging patients at the right time and ensuring that records are accurate and up-to-date."

She said the commission would monitor the trust's progress.

The hospital trust and hospital regulator Monitor also commissioned a report in response to public concerns, a hospital spokesman said.

The independent reviewers Korn/Ferry Whitehead Mann looked at how the hospital was managed.

'Not complacent'

It did not find any serious failings with the hospital's governance but has made recommendations on how to improve it.

Hospital chief executive Christine Green said: "These two reports represent an important step forward for the patients and communities served by Tameside Hospital.

"We know the overwhelming majority of patients here have a perfectly satisfactory experience but realise that the cases where standards weren't as we would have hoped gave rise to concerns among the public.

"However, we are not complacent. These two reviews will hopefully serve to put the mind of the public at rest and reassure those harbouring any concerns that we are an organisation committed to continuous improvement and providing safe and effective care."

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