HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital bosses have been told its colorectal department can resume a full service, almost a year after a damning report blamed “dysfunction in the surgical team” for the deaths of two patients.

Circle announced on Tuesday that NHS Cambridgeshire had confirmed it will be restoring a full colorectal service following a “transformation” in the quality of Hinchingbrooke's colorectal care.

Circle had been in charge for little over a month when the report by the Royal College of Surgeons published its report in March last year. It followed an investigation carried out at the request of South and West Cambridgeshire coroners, after the deaths of 51-year-old Somersham woman Jayne Smith in September 2010 and Patricia Spooner, 67, of Huntingdon, a month later.

The Huntingdon hospital immediately suspended parts of the service when the coroners' concerns were raised in June 2011 and pledged to make major improvements.

An expert colorectal team was brought in from Nottingham, led by renowned colorectal surgeon, Nicholas Armitage, with the aim of creating a larger, more patient-centred unit, and two new colorectal surgeons were recruited, David Mitchell and Atif Alvi.

Hisham Abdel Rahman, Hinchingbrooke's medical director, said: “We are understandably delighted with the news. It's testament to the hard work and commitment of the team and demonstrates both our stability as a hospital and the emphasis we place on providing truly excellent standards of care.”

Mr Mitchell said: “We have a very strong team in place moving forward. We all want Hinchingbrooke's colorectal service to exceed standards and achieve results which match the best in the country and I'm confident that we can do this.”

Mr Alvi, who has experience of working as a colorectal surgeon in world-renowned centres like St Mark's and Royal Marsden Hospital and a laparoscopic colorectal fellowship from Poole hospital, said: “Restoration of the full service, including treating rectal cancers, will greatly enhance our colorectal service for the future. I am confident that, as a team, we can provide a first-class service, treating both non-cancer and cancer patients at a local and regional level.”

The suspension can only be lifted temporarily pending written confirmation from the RCS, which is due to visit the hospital in July.