Morecambe Bay Hospital trust in 'remarkable turnaround'
A hospital trust which was placed in special measures three years ago has made a "truly remarkable turnaround", a health watchdog has found.
After a recent inspection the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has now rated the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust as good.
Some areas, including aspects of the once heavily-criticised maternity unit, were found to be outstanding.
The trust put the improvement down to the "sheer hard work" of staff.
It runs Furness General Hospital in Barrow, Lancaster Royal Infirmary and Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal, as well as smaller community hospitals in Morecambe and Ulverston.
CQC started regulatory action over maternity failings dating from 2011 and, after a series of follow-up inspections uncovered further problems, the trust was put in special measures in 2014.
More than a year later it was rated as "requires improvement" - one up from the bottom ranking.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said of the most recent inspection: "Our inspectors found that further significant improvements had taken place across the trust and it had clearly benefitted from the support provided by the special measures regime.
"This is a truly remarkable turnaround for a trust that has faced very significant difficulties - senior management and staff deserve huge credit for this.
"There are still some areas where further work is needed and the trust board knows what it now needs to do to ensure those improvements are made.
"We will return to check on progress at the trust."
The trust's chief executive, Jackie Daniel, said: "It's been sheer hard work and determination really on behalf of the staff.
"They've gone to bigger units, picked up national best practice and learned from the best.
"Also the families that tragically lost loved ones - although we can't reverse that - have been working with us, giving us feedback."