AN unannounced inspection at the Great Western Hospital has raised concerns about staffing levels and infection control.

The Care Quality Commission launched the inspection specifically looking at elderly care, at the end of October, following patients flagging up concerns about the hospital to the CQC.

An official report has not been published but verbal feedback included issues surrounding ensuring the hospital had the right number of staff, in the right places with the right skills.

Last week the hospital was criticsed by a Swindon Council Health Overview report for missing four-hour waiting targets in A&E.

Nerissa Vaughan, chief executive of the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said in a report to the council that staffing levels were a problem the organisation was aware of.

She said bosses have been working hard to tackle the issue through an intensive recruitment effort which was launched in April.

The trust spent £1.8m on nurses and midwifery. At the end of October 40 nurses were recruited from Spain and Portugal. They are arriving before Christmas.

Another concern, raised by the CQC related to the cleanliness of some of the wards.

She said contractors Carillion were immediately made aware of this problem and the senior nursing staff on those wards.

A spokesman for Carillion said: “The CQC visited Great Western Hospital last month to assess performance across a number of areas, including cleanliness and infection control, healthcare staffing, patient experiences and record-keeping.

“Cleanliness and infection control is a shared responsibility between Carillion and the trust, and we continue to work closely together to deliver a high standard of cleanliness at the hospital.

“Any issues identified in the CQC report will of course be acted on immediately to resolve them.”

In October the hospital’s housekeeping staff voted in favour of taking industrial action in dispute over job losses, pay cuts and staff rosters. A meeting is taking place this week with GMB members to discuss when action short of a strike will be launched.

Around 20 employees are due to be made redundant and every member of staff will be doing 80 hours less cleaning each year.

A final issue highlighted from the inspection related to the hospital’s management.

“We are also aware there will be some learning points relating to governance which will need to be addressed,” said Nerissa.

The CQC is expected to publish its full report sometime in December.

The Swindon Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be meeting at 6pm tomorrow at the council’s Civic Offices.