Troubled Whipps Cross Hospital has seen its rating upgraded after signs of improvement were noted in a recent inspection.

Healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has raised the Leytonstone hospital’s overall rating from “inadequate” to “requires improvement” following an inspection in May.

In its report, published today (Tuesday, September 12), the CQC said outpatient services and end of life care at the hospital had both improved.

However, inspectors were concerned with the lack of progress made in surgery, the third service inspected, and retained its “inadequate” rating.

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “I am pleased that Whipps Cross does now seem to be going in the right direction and there are signs of improvement.

“I want to see this continuing in the future so that the trust’s ratings improve across the board.

“Most patients we spoke with told us their experiences of care were positive. We saw that staff treated patients with compassion and demonstrated a genuinely kind and caring attitude.”

Whipps Cross managing director, Alan Gurney, hailed the improvements made in a number of the hospital’s services, but acknowledged work still needed to be done, especially in surgery.

Mr Gurney said: “End-of-life care, outpatient services and diagnostics have moved from inadequate to requires improvement, the CQC have noticed that there are some real positives.

“In surgery there has not been as much progress as quickly, some of that is within their control, some of that is where they need more support from us as a senior team and across Barts Health.

“We won’t settle for requires improvement, we recognise there is more to do but it is great that the CQC has recognised more progress has been made.

“You never get a report come out with everything clean and when we haven’t got it right, we would always apologise.

“When you look at complaints we have seen a significant improvement- our statistics are showing that and we need to be open, honest and transparent when things do not go well.”

Despite its improved rating, the hospital will remain in special measures, a status it has held since a damning CQC report in 2015.

Since then, Whipps Cross has endured a troubled history.

The 2015 report, based on an inspection in November 2014, found staff were subjected to a culture of “bullying and harassment” by managers.

A total of four warning notices were issued at the time relating to care and welfare of patients, assessment and monitoring of services, staffing levels and handling of complaints.

Barts Health NHS Trust, which operates Whipps Cross, was then placed into financial special measures in July last year after it forecast the largest budget deficit of any healthcare provider in the UK.

A further CQC report into the hospital, published in December 2016, also rated services inadequate overall, despite noting signs of improvement.

The report highlighted significant failings in the way emergency services, surgery, critical care, end-of-life care and outpatients were dealt with.

Inspectors said they had observed patients in “visible pain” who did not receive help from staff.

Since its latest report, the hospital says it has made further improvements since the latest inspection, including renovation work to operating theatres and dementia wards.

Alwen Williams, Barts Health chief executive, said: “I am delighted the CQC recognises the improvements our staff have made to the quality of care we give to patients at Whipps Cross Hospital.

“I am proud of the commitment and determination of our caring and dedicated team. I am sorry for the serious issues raised by the CQC and we will not shy away from addressing them.

“There is still much to do, and we will focus on getting better, quicker- but today marks a significant milestone in our journey of improvement.”