Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust  has been rated as 'Requires Improvement' by inspectors after some serious concerns remain.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), who periodically assess major NHS sites, say they found improvements to the level of care they are providing at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and University Hospital Lewisham, but found that more work is still needed.

It means the south east London trust has remained at the same 'Requires Improvement' rating as before, and has been issued with two official requirements notices.

Inspectors said they found "serious concerns" with the general medical care in QEH, the systems used to safely store medicines, and the care for mental health needs, also at QEH.

There were also smaller issues with care pathways for children and young people, excessive waiting times which did not meet good practice requirements, and a number of minor faults.

However, the report from the CQC, published on Friday, July 3, paints a largely positive picture of the south east London trust.

Inspectors said they found staff who were caring and compassionate, effectively providing emotional support to patients and families and meeting the needs of the local and diverse community well.

Staffing numbers have also increased significantly, a issue previously identified in the last inspection, and the overall management of the trust was said to be supportive, effective and visible to workers.

Ben Travis, the CEO of the trust, said they had made "a number of improvements since the last CQC inspection in 2018, and this report shows that – while we have got more to do – we are on the right track.”

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust services a population of over 660,000 people living across Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley, emplying over 6,500 staff.

The trust was hard-pressed at the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown, dealing with one of the UK's first confirmed cases and the following influx as well as the tragic deaths of two of its workers from Covid-19.

But the number of deaths, like the current local Covid-19 rate, has remained relatively low compared to the rest of the country.

In the new report, the trust recorded 'Good' ratings for Effective Services, Caring Services, and Well-Led leadership.

But inspectors said 'Safe Services', 'Responsive' and 'Resources' were all 'Requires Improvement', leading to the trust being told that despite its improvements, more change is needed.

But recognising that upgrades had been made, the CQC said critical ccare services at QEH were 'Outstanding', and a massive improvement from two years prior.

The education and development programme offered to nurses were also cited as an example of outstanding practice, whilst a number of hospital services were not inspected and retained theur 'Good' rating.

Responding to the two main criticisms from inspectors, the trust said its pharmacy and nursing teams would be working with staff on the safe and secure storage of medicines.

It is also working with the neighbouring Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust to set up a mental health suite next to the urgent care centre to help treat mental health patients in the right environment.