BASILDON Hospital is the first of 14 in the country to be taken out of special measures.

Staff are celebrating after the Care Quality Commission rated the hospital “good” – prompting health regulator Monitor to lift a string of sanctions.

Its maternity unit is also the first in the country to be rated “outstanding” by the health watchdog.

Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle- Price said: “I would like to congratulate all the staff for the real efforts they have made to bring the hospital trust out of special measures.

It says so much about them that they have worked hard to bring about this improvement.

“What has happened is a profound cultural change within that trust. It has been achieved by leadership.”

Hospital trust chief executive Clare Panniker said the announcement marked the “start of a new exciting chapter”

for the hospital, which has previously been plagued with controversy.

She added: “This is real a turning point. We can draw a line under the last four years and really start to move forward without the shackles of special measures.

“It marks the end of an era and the start of a new exciting chapter for our trust when we can once more be confident – as the regulators now are – in the quality of our care.

Basildon was one of 14 failing hospitals to be put into special measures by Monitor last July due to concerns about standards of care and high death rates.

Troubleshooter Adam Cayley, from Monitor, was drafted in as a dedicated improvement director to help turn the hospital around.

The trust has since made a number of changes, including hiring more than 200 doctors and nurses. The hospital is due to continue working closely with London’s Royal Free Hospital, which it was partnered with during the special measures process.

Out of the 16 hospitals in the country to have been inspected under the revamped Care Quality Commission system, Basildon is the sixth to be rated “good” overall.

The others required improvement.

Basildon is the first of the 14 special measures