IMPROVEMENTS have been made to a hospital’s operating theatres since the care watchdog ordered it to take action to address failings, a new report says.

The Care Quality Commission issued Poole Hospital with a warning notice last year due to concerns about its surgery department.

Hospital chief executive Debbie Fleming welcomed the findings but accepted “more needs to be done”.

Whistleblowers’ concerns prompted the watchdog to carry out an unannounced inspection at the hospital last year.

Seven never events – incidents deemed so serious they should never happen – were reported at the hospital in the two years leading up to its visit last year.

Inspectors ordered “significant improvements” to be and made a follow up visit in April.

In their report, published today, they said issues raised in the warning notice had been addressed but other issues, including medicine storage, had now been identified.

Dr Nigel Acheson, deputy chief inspector of hospitals in the south, said it was “clear” that improvements had been made.

“We found improved staffing levels, although still a high use of agency staff,” he said.

“The culture in theatres was improving but more work was needed to get this right. There were some concerns raised on this visit around poor infection control practise and a lack of challenge to poor practise of senior staff.”

Hospital chief executive Debbie Fleming welcomed the findings and said they were “determined” to continue improving.

“We welcome the commission’s lifting of their warning notice, following their inspection in April, and pleased that improvements have been noted in a range of areas,” she said.

“A theatres improvement team meets regularly to tackle issues, while a largely new management team, including the new role of matron for theatres, has helped improve patient safety, staff feedback, recruitment and the working environment.

“Nevertheless, there are areas in which we are determined to improve further, and as the CQC notes, we are clear that more needs to be done.”

She said the planned redesignation of the hospital as a planned care centre would bring further improvements.