HOSPITAL chief executive Sir Jonathan Michael yesterday said John Radcliffe services are safe after a critical report by official inspectors.

The Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust boss spoke after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the JR “requires improvement” on Tuesday.

As reported in yesterday’s Oxford Mail, the inspection warned of staff shortages, lack of beds, poor clinic planning, high bed occupancy, and long waiting times.

Sir Jonathan told yesterday’s bi-monthly trust board meeting: “It wasn’t that these areas were at risk or they were unsafe but they identified some areas of improvement we ought to look at.”

He said of the JR, its largest hospital: “There are some areas of pressure that we are aware of and we acknowledge those.”

Action plans will be submitted by June 21 and July 31.

The trust was overall rated good, including its three other hospitals, Oxford’s Churchill Hospital and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and Banbury’s Horton General.

Sir Jonathan told the JR meeting it was a “very pleasing report” and was “really positive” about public comments to inspectors.

The board backed trust chairman Dame Fiona Caldicott’s suggestion they write a thank-you letter to staff.

She said: “We are offering care of an excellent standard and of great compassion almost all the time, almost everywhere.”

The CQC said the trust had “failed to consistently safeguard the health, safety and welfare of patients” over staffing in departments like maternity and surgery.

Royal College of Midwives head for the south Pat Gould said: “The trust needs to ensure it has suitable numbers of qualified and skilled midwives, and maternity support workers, to meet mothers’ and babies’ needs.”