HOSPITAL boss Jim Birrell said the NHS has recognised that improvements are being made at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hosptials.

The interim chief exectuive of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust [ELHT] said the NHS Trust Development Authority, which has been overseeing changes, is happy with the trust’s progress.

ELHT was placed in special measures last summer after inspectors made wide-ranging criticisms of the way it had been run over several years.

The executive team has since been ‘strengthened’ by the appointment of Mr Birrell as interim chief exectuive, as well as a new nursing director, chairman and medical director, the trust said.

An additional 104 nurses and nursing support staff have been recruited, with 22 additional doctors, while several other initiatives have helped improve care.

Mr Birrell said: “It is very encouraging to see that progress is being identified and that the improvements that are being made at the Trust are being acknowledged by Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority.

“We have very committed staff, a number of high-class award winning services and although there are still many challenges ahead, I can assure you that more improvements will be made and that the trust can continue to make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the East Lancashire community.”