HOUSE of Commons session has debated the lifting of ‘special measures’ status from East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Inspectors said that the trust demonstrated a range of improvements since the Keogh Review in July last year.

They concluded that the two main hospitals, Royal Blackburn Hospital and Burnley General Hospital, both require improvement but recommended that the trust be released from ‘special measures’, with on-going support.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs that the trust had made excellent progress.

He said: “238 more nurses have been hired since July 2013.

“This success is a tremendous tribute to the work of brilliant staff who are dedicated to the principles that underpin our NHS.”

Blackburn MP Jack Straw told the Commons: “It is essential that the trust does not take its foot off the gas, but continues the process of change and, above all, cultural change in the way that patients are treated.”

Pendle’s MP Andrew Stephenson, said: “Following action by the Secretary of State last year, the trust has now recruited more than 200 new nurses, nurse support staff and consultants.

“In March, a new £9m urgent care centre at Burnley was officially opened to the public, replacing the old A and E department, which was downgraded under Labour in 2007.”

Jim Birrell, interim chief executive at the trust, said: “I am delighted at the outcome and very pleased for our hard working and dedicated 7,000 plus staff, who were devastated by the findings and criticisms of Keogh.

“We can now draw a line in the sand and look to move forward with the quality and clinical strategies that will enable us to provide the best possible safe, personal and effective care for our patients.

“Inspectors found that staff were kind and caring and patients were generally positive about their experience.”