'SIGNIFICANT progress' has been made to improve patient care and leadership at the John Radcliffe's hospital trust, according to a health watchdog.

NHS Improvement, the organisation which regulates hospital trusts alongside the Care Quality Commission, however, said it still had concerns over Oxford University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust's (OUH) finances and cancer performance.

The watchdog has now formally lifted the majority of the 'enforcement undertakings' which were agreed with OUH's trust board in June 2018 after it was found to have breached its NHS licence.

At the time the NHSI said the breaches demonstrated a 'failure of governance and financial management arrangements' and the 'enforcement undertakings' committed the trust board to provide clear plans which lead to improvements in performance.

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Now the regulator has issued a compliance certificate, meaning conditions have been met for most areas.

Those in place for finance, also agreed in June 2018, remain in place and the regulator plans to agree new 'enforcement undertakings' for cancer with the trust.

The NHSI stated: “This compliance certificate recognises the significant progress the trust has made in respect of governance, planned care, emergency care and workforce planning, along with the development of the overarching Integrated Improvement Programme to ensure delivery of plans.”

The 'enforcement undertakings' committed the OUH trust board to demonstrating that it had clear plans which would lead to improvements in performance on key priorities.

It came after OUH did not hit improvement targets agreed with NHSI in 2016, while A&E national standard waiting time targets had not been met throughout 2016/17 and 2017/18.

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NHSI also stressed the trust board had to ensure that these plans were developed with a focus on the quality of care, and that they were delivered in a 'robust and coherent manner'.

OUH chief executive Dr Bruno Holthof said: “We are delighted that NHSI has recognised that we have made significant progress in tackling some of our key priorities. I would like to thank all staff whose renewed focus on key areas has led to these welcome improvements in our performance."

He added: “As a trust board we are committed to working with colleagues across the trust - and with our partners in the wider health and care system - so that together we can move forward positively to ensure that we deliver the highest possible quality of care to our patients.”