FORTH Valley Royal Hospital has made “significant progress” since serious patient safety and quality concerns were raised by inspectors two years ago, according to a fresh report.

Improvements have been made in both the emergency department and clinical assessment units since requirements were placed on the health board in 2022, Healthcare Improvement Scotland confirmed in a report published on Thursday, April 25.

Inspectors returned to the Larbert hospital unannounced this January for a follow-up visit after they raised serious concerns two years ago, placing 17 requirements on NHS Forth Valley.

Requirements related to effective risk management, safe delivery of care to all patients, meaningful staff engagement that allows doctors and nurses to raise concerns in an open and transparent culture among other items.

Following two visits in 2022, which resulted in both the health board and Scottish Government being formally approached regarding the concerns found, Healthcare Improvement Scotland was commissioned to provide improvement support to NHS Forth Valley to address key issues.

Donna Maclean, chief inspector at Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: “During this follow-up inspection we have been assured that significant progress has been made by NHS Forth Valley in all of the areas highlighted during our previous inspections.

“Patients and relatives were complimentary about their care and the staff providing it.

“There was an open and supportive culture in the hospital and staff said they felt able to raise concerns.

“Despite increased hospital capacity, the areas we inspected were calm and well-led with teams working together to provide compassionate care.

“Inspectors reported a significant improvement in both the emergency department and the acute admission and clinical assessment units.”

Eight of the previous 17 requirements have been met.

Progress has also been made with the remaining nine, which have been updated to reflect the work that has already been carried out.

Further areas for improvement have also been identified during the latest inspection.

These include improved compliance with paediatric immediate life support training and the safe storage of cleaning products.

Also, ensuring the correct procedure is followed when patients are detained under the Mental Health Act, which has resulted in three new requirements.

There were eight areas of good practice identified, one recommendation and a total of 12 requirements with an improvement plan developed.

Requirements in the report mean the hospital has not fully met standards and the inspection team is concerned about the impact this has had on patients.

The chief inspector added: “Learning from patient feedback in the clinical assessment and acute admissions areas is being used to implement changes to improve patient experience.

“The majority of staff we spoke with describe Forth Valley Hospital as a good place to work, with a supportive and visible senior leadership team and an improvement in culture since our previous inspection in September 2022.”

The health board has welcomed the report, highlighting that improvements were made despite a range of capacity pressures being experienced.

Prof Frances Dodd, executive nurse director at NHS Forth Valley, said: "We are pleased that the inspectors saw evidence of the significant progress made to address the issues and concerns highlighted during previous inspection visits.

"Many of the requirements outlined in the report have already been addressed and we will ensure all are fully implemented.

"We also recognise that there is still more to do to maintain and build on the good work already underway to further improve the experience of local patients and staff."