East Kent NHS Trust 'should be out of special measures'
A hospital trust should be taken out of special measures, the health watchdog has recommended.
The East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust was put into special measures in September 2014 because of "serious failures" in patient safety.
England's chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards said his recommendation came after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Matthew Kershaw, the trust's chief executive said there was more to do.
The trust runs the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, the Kent and Canterbury in Canterbury, the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) in Margate, the Buckland in Dover, and the Royal Victoria in Folkestone.
Prof Richards said: "At our last inspection in July 2015, we noted that although East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust had made significant improvements in quality, we needed to see those improvements embedded in practice.
"We have found good evidence that the trust continues to make steady progress.
"We can see real benefits for patients."
'Made real strides'
Prof Richards has recommended the NHS Trust Development Authority and Monitor take the trust out of special measures.
CQC inspectors visited the hospitals and focused on emergency care, medical services, maternity and gynaecology, and end of life care.
The inspectors rated the quality of care provided by the William Harvey, QEQM and Kent and Canterbury hospitals as "requiring improvement".
Mr Kershaw said: "We have made some investments already in staffing levels in maternity and improvements in equipment.
"Both of those have more to do but we have made real strides in both those areas across both of our main sites."