THE chairman of the trust in charge of Colchester’s hospitals insists standards of care have not dropped overnight.

Speaking in public for the first time since NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh announced death rates at Colchester’s hospitals would be investigated, Sally Irvine insisted major car improvements had been introduced in the last three years.

She said: “It’s important that we do reassure staff and the public that last Wednesday we didn’t suddenly become a bad or a failing trust.

“We are as good as we were last Wednesday and we have full confidence that the Keogh investigation will help us understand these figures and also help us improve even further the services that we give.

“The hospital is safer now as a result of the steps we have taken in the last three years.”

See Friday's Gazette for a special report.