A debt-ridden health trust which is aiming to save £20 million has been praised in two independent reports for its high standards of clinical care, patient safety and staff training.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust - which runs Redditch's Alexandra Hospital, Kidderminster Treatment Centre and Worcestershire Royal Infirmary in Worcester - passed two assessments in a national scheme.
It is the first time the trust has successfully achieved Level Two accreditation in the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST) for its general clinical services and maternity services.
When the trust announced its proposed £20 million savings plan, there were fears frontline services and staff would suffer.
However, the trust has already found ways to recoup £12.5 million without reconfiguring "big ticket" services such as cancer care and emergency surgery.
The CNST award, which followed four days of site visits and staff interviews, has reinforced the trust's pledge that patient care would not be affected by the need to make savings.
As well as providing official recognition of the trust's efforts to improve its quality of care, it also results in a significant reduction in its annual insurance premium.
John Rostill, the trust's chief executive, said: "The financial benefit to the trust from our success in gaining CNST Levels 1 and 2, is a saving of £800,000 on our annual premiums. This achievement demonstrates unequivocally that we meet the required standards of patient safety.
Rachel Overfield, the trust's director of nursing, said: "Chris Rawlings, our head of risk services, and Elaine Newell, head of midwifery, were excellently supported by all the staff who took part in the review.
"It is a reward for a great deal of hard work which has been done and sends out a clear message that this is a trust which takes patient safety very seriously indeed - a message which is reinforced by the number of categories in which we scored 100 per cent."