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One of London’s two failing NHS hospital trusts is to remain in special measures but has been praised for making “significant progress”.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission found Barking, Havering and Redbridge trust – which runs Queen’s hospital in Romford and King George in Ilford – had moved from “inadequate” to “requires improvement”.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “Eighteen months ago, I was so concerned by the serious failures in the quality of care that I recommended that [it] should go into special measures.  

“I am pleased to report that with the package of support provided by the Trust Development Authority, and with a new leadership in place, the trust has shown that it made significant improvement.”

The inspection in March found continued failures to hit the NHS four-hour A&E target and a backlog of serious incidents awaiting investigation. Since the visit, the trust – which was followed into special measures this year by Barts Health – says it is only 0.5 points off hitting the A&E target, with 94.5 per cent of patients seen in four hours, and has cleared the serious incidents backlog.

Inspectors found end of life services to be good at both hospitals. All other core services, including urgent and emergency services, medical care, surgery, critical care, maternity and gynaecology, services for children and young people, and outpatients required improvement.

Trust chief executive Matthew Hopkins said: “We are making great strides in improving care for our patients, and we have set strong foundations to continue our journey to become outstanding.”