COUNTY Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has again been told it requires improvement by inspectors.

The trust received the overall rating following an unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

Inspectors said there had been an improvement in leadership in emergency services at Darlington Memorial Hospital, something highlighted in the last inspection report in 2015.

However the rating for surgery dropped from good to requires improvement. The CQC said limited training in how to spot the condition sepsis was available to staff. Staffing levels on late shifts also fell below recommended guidance.

Within maternity services there was said to be a real drive to improve quality.

At the University Hospital of North Durham medical care improved since the last inspection, but surgery was downgraded from good to requires improvement.

The CQC criticised the level of mandatory training among theatre staff and said further learning was required to keep patients safe and avoid serious medical mishaps.

Ellen Armistead, deputy chief inspector of hospitals for the North, said:

“While we saw some improvements, the pace of change needs addressing and the trust requires improvement overall.”