THE trust that oversees Fairfield Hospital has been rated as Requires Improvement following an unannounced inspection.

The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has moved up one category from its last inspection in 2016, according to the Care Quality Commission.

Meanwhile, Fairfield's overall rating has also improved from requires improvement to good.

As well as Fairfield, the trust, which is the largest in Greater Manchester, runs North Manchester General, Royal Oldham, and Rochdale Infirmary.

Inspectors found the trust had improved overall, but warned there is still more work to be done.

Ellen Armistead deputy chief inspector of hospitals in the north, said: “I am pleased to report that we have found evidence of real improvement in care at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

"However, there remains a considerable amount to do to improve services for patients

“A comprehensive plan to deal with the challenges faced by Pennine Acute Hospitals has been put in place and it is clear these arrangements have had a positive effect.

“We found a supportive and open culture that was focused on learning and improvement. There had been major changes to the leadership and management at the trust, staff talked positively about local leadership.

“There is still scope for improvement in the day to day delivery of services – and I look forward to reporting further progress as the trust deals with these matters in future.”

The report relates to inspections carried out at Fairfield, North Manchester and Royal Oldham between 17 October and 16 November 2017.

At Fairfield, urgent and emergency services and medical care were found to have improved, with medical care being rated as outstanding.

At the time of the inspection, the theatre environment was found not fit for purpose. However, the necessary refurbishment work has since been completed.

The report cited Fairfield’s urgent and emergency care department working closely with medical wards to implement the golden patient initiative as an example of outstanding practice.

Inspectors said the trust still did not have enough staff of the right qualifications, skills, and training.

While staff numbers had improved, they were lower than planned in medical care, surgery, critical care and children and young people services.

The CQC also rated safety, effectiveness and responsiveness as requires improvement, while caring and well led were rated as good.

There are no longer any services across the trust’s hospitals rated as inadequate.

Sir David Dalton, chief executive, said: “It’s been a difficult and challenging 18 months and this has meant a lot of hard work, dedication and willingness by staff to implement our improvement plan across our services.

"I am delighted that the efforts of staff have been recognised by the CQC and that it confirms independently that we are making real positive progress and on track to deliver the improvements that our staff, our patients and their families deserve and expect.

“I am privileged to see the incredible care our staff provide 24/7, 365 days a year, and for that I on behalf of the Board of Directors and our patients wish to thank them publicly.

"Of particular note is the Medical Service at Fairfield General Hospital which has improved by two ratings to outstanding. This rates the medical services at Fairfield to be one of the best alongside our Salford Care Organisation in Greater Manchester and amongst the best in the country.

“It is remarkable that our acute hospital services across Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and North Manchester now have 70% of their rateable services, by domain categorisation, assessed as good or outstanding. This is a phenomenal achievement.

“However, we know that we still have more to do on our journey of improvement, particularly across a number of areas and services that require more focus, more support and more investment. But this CQC report will, I’m sure, help further energise and drive our staff to make the further improvements needed so that we can achieve our aim to be an outstanding rated service."