THE trust which runs Darlington Memorial Hospital and the University Hospital of North Durham has been ranked as 'good' overall by inspectors.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has received a ‘Good’ rating from the Care Quality Commission following its latest inspection.

But inspectors highlighted patient safety as the one area the trust needed to improve.

Its last inspection in 2017 had judged it as requiring improvement overall, in particular the hospitals in Durham and Darlington.

A team of inspectors visited the hospitals in July and carried out an assessment of end of life care, urgent and emergency care and surgery.

The CQC report, which is published today, highlights that the Trust, which treats two million patients a year, has successfully addressed areas for improvement highlighted two years ago.

Sue Jacques, Chief Executive of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is a fantastic achievement for everyone working for the Trust, our partners and our local populations.

"We have a clear strategic direction and are taking forward plans to further transform our services. Our organisational values ensure that we place patients at the heart of all that we do and this is clearly visible in the report. In particular, the report praises our staff for treating patients with compassion and kindness, respecting their privacy and dignity, and taking account of their individual needs.

“We are particularly pleased that this inspection included end of life services, which had not been assessed since 2015, and that the services have been rated as outstanding. This is a testament to the work which has taken place over the last four years and the progress we have made.”

The report was also positive about leadership and was complimentary about the improvements made by the organisation.

The Trust was said to be engaging more proactively with patients, staff, public and local organisations to manage services.

Ms Jacques continued: “Like the NHS nationally, we are seeing demand for our services continue to grow, particularly in our emergency and unscheduled care services and our challenge is to make sure that we can deliver safe, quality care."