The Care Quality Commission has today rated Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust as Requires Improvement, while rating the care provided as Good.
Inspectors visited Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford in September last year, looking at a range of services and speaking to patients, relatives and staff.
The CQC’s overall rating for the Trust is Requires Improvement.
Chief Executive Clare Panniker said: “This was the rating we were expecting. We have faced a number of challenges in recent years and I’m reassured that most of the issues raised by the CQC are ones we had already identified ourselves and have started to address.
“We are determined to provide the very best standards of care for our patients, and I am confident that, with a new and committed leadership team supporting a truly caring workforce, we will deliver significant improvements to regain a Good and then Outstanding rating.”
She added: “We have worked quickly to improve medical care and, since the inspection, have opened a new ward providing modern, dementia-friendly facilities for our elderly patients.”
There has also been an improvement in feedback from patients on the wards. Across the medical division the number of patients who would recommend the hospital to friends and family rose by 14 per cent in one month.
The inspectors noted areas of outstanding practice in the hospital, including the use of robotics in surgery – allowing surgeons to carry out complex operations – and innovative techniques to comfort children with emotional and physical needs.
The report highlighted that, like other trusts across the country, Broomfield Hospital is struggling to fill nursing vacancies.
Clare said: “We know that having teams of permanent staff leads to improved care and a better working environment. That is what we want for our staff and patients.
“Having to rely on agency nurses not only impacts on care, but also costs us millions of pounds a year. We have introduced a host of initiatives to tackle the problem, including an overseas recruitment campaign, offering our student nurses permanent roles with us, and supporting apprenticeships which develop healthcare assistants to become registered nurses. We are also working with national colleagues and local universities to see what more we can do.
She added: “We are well-sighted on the issues we are facing here at Mid Essex, and understand the scale of the improvements needed. As we continue to prepare for the planned merger with Basildon and Southend hospitals, we are determined to rise to the challenge, and have already started to see real change.
“I would like to thank our staff who work tirelessly to provide the very best care to our patients.”