St Helens Hospital rated 'outstanding' by Care Quality Commission
A Merseyside hospital has become one of only three in England to be rated "outstanding" by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
St Helens Hospital received the top mark after an inspection in August by the health watchdog.
The hospital is run by St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which was given an overall rating of "good" by the regulator.
Salford Royal and Frimley Park in Surrey were also rated "outstanding".
The CQC report praised the "positive culture" amongst staff and good leadership at St Helens Hospital.
It highlighted how well staff dealt with incidents and learnt from them to improve their work.
Ann Ford, head of hospital inspection at the CQC, praised the outpatient department, saying it "was the best we have inspected so far".
She said the trust "responded very well to patient feedback" and "changed its practice accordingly".
The trust also runs Whiston Hospital, which was labelled "good with outstanding" features.
But the CQC also said work was needed to improve maternity and gynaecology services and cut A&E waiting times.