A lawyer who has represented more than 50 patients and their families in claims against Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust has welcomed the decision by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to order the trust to take urgent action to improve patient safety.

It has been reported that the trust has been given six weeks to make significant improvements at its three hospitals in Worcester, Kidderminster and Redditch. The trust must make the changes by 10 March or risk sanctions such as administrators being brought in to run the trust.

The order from the CQC follows two deaths at Worcestershire Royal Hospital at the beginning of the year which reportedly followed long waits on trolleys in a corridor.

The trust was put into special measures in December 2015 following an inspection by the CQC which raised concerns about safety in the A&E, paediatrics, maternity and gynaecology departments. It also faced criticism in 2016 when CQC staff discovered that 10,000 patients’ x-rays had not been assessed.

Emma Jones, partner in law firm Leigh Day’s human rights team, has represented over 50 patients and their families in bringing cases against the trust.

She said: “I welcome the action taken by the CQC to urgently order Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust to improve patient safety, however, the trust has been aware of problems for some time and I have raised many issues, on behalf of my clients, to the trust over the last few years.

“The trust should have taken action to improve patient safety some time ago and it is extremely disappointing that it appears to have taken the threat of sanctions by the CQC for it to begin to take notice. It is crucial that significant improvements are made to ensure patients receive safe and effective care.”