Milton Keynes Hospital has been rated Good by health chiefs for the first time in its history - two years after it was deemed to Require Improvement.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which judges hospitals across the country, gave Milton Keynes the second-best available ranking over all as well as in four out of five categories.
It was rated Good for ‘Are services at this trust effective?’, ‘Are services at this trust caring?’, ‘Are services at this trust responsive?’ and ‘Are services at this trust well-led?’.
But it was still ranked as Requires improvement for ‘Are services at this trust safe?’
Hospital chief executive Joe Harrison said: “There only about 30 hospitals that have got a Good rating in the whole country, so it puts us in the same category as the likes of Guy’s, the Royal Free and Oxford hospitals. It means an awful lot to the staff and it validates all the work that we’ve been doing.
“It’s both about everybody making small tangible improvements in safety, patient care and patient experience, and the values we want at a board level.”
Inspectors visited in July and concentrated on the adult and children’s emergency department, medical care wards, maternity and gynaecology services and the end of life care service.
Their report highlighted a number of improvements and areas of Outstanding practice.
These included the proactive elderly care team within the medical care service, and the dedicated bereavement box for patients needing end-of-life care which contains appropriate equipment, soft lighting, and bed furnishings to provide a comfortable environment for patients.
However there were also some areas requiring improvement, such as some patients’ privacy not being respected when booking in at the reception desk in the emergency department at busy times, and not all medical staff having the required level of safeguarding children’s training.
Professor Harrison added: “This means patients can be confident that they’re getting some of the best care in the NHS.
“And we’re not satisfied with being Good. When the CQC tell you that you’re not far from being Outstanding you want to keep improving and be the best you possibly can.”