URGENT conditions imposed on the John Radcliffe hospital's operating theatres after a disappointing report from the health watchdog have now been lifted, after works to improve the theatres were completed.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) downgraded Oxford University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) from 'good' to 'requires improvement' in June, and told the trust to take immediate action after an inspection team discovered dilapidated conditions and the risk of infection.

The theatres were officially re-opened in September at the end of works to 'refresh' them which started in April and a team from the CQC re-visited in November.

Improvements made include new electrical and data wiring and increased sockets, brighter lighting, redecoration with new colours in the corridors and more neutral tones in the theatres, new cabinetry and other fittings, new flooring, and a new centralised stores for equipment and medicines.

A refurbished staff room and kitchen were made possible thanks to funding from Oxford Hospitals Charity.

The John Radcliffe had eight operating theatres where both planned and emergency operations are carried out. While the theatres were shut during the refresh, some operations were transferred to other operating theatres in the hospital’s West Wing.

Sara Randall, Chief Operating Officer at OUH, said: "This was an extremely complex project which was planned and executed carefully to ensure there was as little impact as possible on patient care.

“The teamwork between our clinical teams in theatres and staff from Estates, Procurement, Clinical Engineering, IT and Pharmacy was superb and greatly contributed to the success of the refresh project.

“We are delighted that the inspection team from the CQC has recognised that issues have been addressed and that the conditions imposed on theatres have been lifted.”

Dr Bruno Holthof, Chief Executive Officer at Oxford University Hospitals, added: “The refresh was a challenging logistical exercise but our staff rose to the challenge to ensure that the environment they work in matches their clinical excellence and professionalism, helping to deliver the standard of care that the Trust aspires to.”

Staff working across the operating theatres in the main John Radcliffe Hospital building and the West Wing were named Clinical Team of the Year at the annual OUH Staff Recognition Awards on December 4.