A HOSPITAL trust has been given a formal warning after an inspection found a systematic catalogue of failings.

Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been criticised in a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report, published last Wednesday.

It said the trust must make urgent improvements to protect patients at Wexham Park Hospital, saying it failed to meet any of the seven national standards reviewed.

The report also found that Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot was non-compliant in two essential standards of quality and safety, though said the weakness in care planning was only having a 'minor' impact on patients, while a problem of record-keeping posed a 'moderate' impact.

In the other three standards assessed - respecting and involving people; cleanliness and infection control; and quality governance - the CQC judged that Heatherwood was meeting these standards.

A team of inspectors with nursing experience, supported by experts, made an unannounced four-day visit to the hospitals in May after concerns were raised about patient care at Wexham Park.

The damning report claimed people's privacy and dignity at the Slough hospital were not always respected.

Officers cited examples of patients queuing on ambulance trolleys in corridors for hours at a time and a confused elderly woman sat in a chair in her bra, in sight of other patients, visitors and staff.

Adrian Hughes, regional director of CQC in the South, said: "While we would acknowledge that Wexham Park Hospital was under considerable pressure at the time of this inspection, this is not an excuse for the systemic catalogue of failings we identified there. Local people deserve much better.

"Basic things, such as making sure people's dignity was respected did not get the attention they deserved. This impacts on the patients and therefore is completely unacceptable and needs to be tackled immediately." Philippa Slinger, chief executive of Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said in a statement: "We apologise to those patients who had a negative experience of our care and we are determined to improve.

"We have worked out a detailed plan of action to address all of their findings. Some actions were easy to instigate immediately. Some will only be achieved in the medium and long-term.

"However, we are confident that we can address all the issues and resolve them."