Colchester's hospital trust has agreed an improvement plan with regulators.

Monitor has announced today that it has reached a legally binding agreement with Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust to improve performance and clinical effectiveness.

The trust has also announced its interim chief executive, Dr Lucy Moore, will remain in the role until next September.

The health sector regulator is taking action after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission rated the trust as requiring improvement overall and deemed its leadership inadequate.

The trust has also agreed to form an improvement board with stakeholders, including Monitor, the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England, which will review the plan's progress.

The regulator is also working with Colchester to ensure it has stable and effective leadership by scrutinising its organisational development strategy including board members.

Monitor put the trust in special measures in November 2013, following concerns about the care provided to cancer patients.

Since then, the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust has partnered Colchester to provide it with tailored support to help fix problems with its cancer services.

Monitor regional director Adam Cayley said: "We want all patients of Colchester to receive quality care, which means all parts of the organisation must operate effectively.

"This action reaffirms our desire for this to happen by ensuring that the trust takes appropriate and swift action to address the concerns around how it is led.

"It will also reduce the likelihood of these issues happening again.

"We will continue to monitor the trust rigorously, and will not hesitate to take further regulatory action if necessary."

Dr Moore said: “The last year or so has been a difficult and challenging time for the trust and we are not yet in a position in which we can truthfully say that all the difficulties are behind us.

“We face more challenges in the months ahead but we are moving forward and I am determined that we will regain the trust of our patients and our local communities.”

Full story in tomorrow's Gazette