NHS Improvement has today lifted some of the regulations imposed on Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust in the wake of Connor Sparrowhawk's death at a care facility in Oxford in 2013.

In 2016 the trust was forced to implement a number of recommendations for improvement following a report which highlighted serious failings in the way the trust investigated the deaths of vulnerable patients, including that of 18-year-old Mr Sparrowhawk.

However, NHS Improvement has said today that an independent review into the progress made by the trust revealed 'significant' improvements.

The review carried out by Niche Health and Social Care Consulting and Grant Thornton LLP in 2017 found improvements in the way the trust investigates and reports patient deaths and involves family members in this process.

It also found a culture of increased openness and transparency.

The review concluded that the trust had made significant improvements in all of the areas that were recommended in the Mazars report.

Regional director south east at NHS Improvement and NHS England, Anne Eden, said: “The historic failings at the trust are well documented and it is right that the trust has been held to account for them.

"However, this is encouraging progress which represents improvements in services for local patients and should also be recognised.

“Southern Health continues to be subject to regulatory action from NHS Improvement to ensure they maintain momentum in their work and provide the highest standards of care expected of all NHS trusts.

“We will continue to work with the new leadership team at the Trust to drive improvement, deliver for local patients and build the confidence of the local community.”

Mr Sparrowhawk had epilepsy, autism and learning difficulties and was admitted to Slade House care facility in Headington, on 19 March 2013.

He was found drowned after being left unsupervised in a bath on July 4 2013.