The head of Dorset County Hospital has praised ‘outstanding’ staff as the service wins a ‘good’ rating in its latest inspection.

It comes after the last inspection in 2016 saw the hospital rated as ‘requires improvement’ by the CQC.

A team of inspectors from the regulator visited the hospital in Dorchester in July and August to check the quality of five core services: urgent and emergency care, maternity, end of life care, outpatients, and diagnostic imaging at Dorset County Hospital and Weymouth Community Hospital.

The report, published today, found that there have been ‘significant improvements’ in urgent and emergency care.

Dr Nigel Acheson, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals for the south, said: “Since we last inspected, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has worked incredibly hard to improve in most areas and I want to congratulate them from moving from Requires Improvement to achieving their overall Good rating.

“However, there are some areas that still need work. In urgent and emergency care, maternity services and outpatients, staff were not up to date with their mandatory training. Some safety improvements had been made to the room in A&E for patients with mental health needs. However, there were remaining risks for safety of those patients, particularly regarding ligature points and safety of furnishings.

“Our inspectors found a board that was experienced and skilled who had a strong vision for the organisation, and embedded values. They understood the challenges to providing high-quality, sustainable services. They were supported by a committed, caring workforce who treated patients with compassion and dignity while providing them with the emotional support they needed.

“We will return at a later date to check on the further progress the trust has made.”

Patricia Miller, Chief Executive of Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said she was ‘delighted’ at the report.

She added: “The overall rating applied to Dorset County Hospital and all of its core services is confirmation of what I observe every day – staff consistently going beyond expectations, providing outstanding care to our patients and their families and carers.

“Every single member of staff can take credit for making the improvements necessary to raise our rating. It has been a true team effort and we are immensely proud of what has been achieved, especially at a time when NHS resources are so stretched.”

“Patients coming to Dorset County Hospital can be assured they will receive high standards of care from committed and compassionate staff. We are by no means complacent though and will be working hard on the areas identified in the CQC report which require further development.

“As outlined in Dorset’s Clinical Services Review, Dorset County Hospital will continue to be the 24/7 emergency and planned hospital for the west of the county. We are looking forward to building on our success and ensuring our hospital continues to provide first-class services to our communities.”