EAST Surrey Hospital has failed to achieve central NHS standards in safety and cleanliness and missed its financial targets.

The hospital in Redhill was named as one of the 20 worst in the country in the Healthcare Commission's annual health check report.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH), which manages it, was the only South East trust to be rated as weak for its services and use of resources for two years running.

East Surrey Hospital did not have enough information for patients and visitors on how to prevent the spread of hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA.

Also, details of patients' infections were not properly passed on when they moved to other healthcare organisations although high standards of cleanliness had reduced these infections.

Inspectors found in 2005-06 that drugs, delivered in sealed delivery bags, were often left unattended on an open trolley by porters.

Too many patients spent more than the target four hours in A&E waiting to be seen and many were unhappy with waiting times.

The trust scored low financially for missing its targets for 2006-07, poor financial management and consideration of value for money.

A spokeswoman for SASH said the trust had reduced healthcare-associated infections and had one of the lowest rates of the Clostridium Difficile infection in the South East Coast region, due to an investment in five deep-cleaning machines.

Gail Wannell, SASH chief executive, said the greatest weakness had been poor governance, which had now been improved. The trust, which had a deficit of £12.2 million in 2006-07, is aiming to reduce that to £2.6 million for 2007-08 and to break even in January next year.

The health watchdog assessed 394 NHS trusts in 2006-07, rating them excellent, good, fair or weak.

Surrey Primary Care Trust (PCT), which manages GP surgeries and dentists, was also graded weak for both.

The PCT, the report said, did not decontaminate its medical instruments properly, especially in its podiatry, dentistry and district nursing services, and was in deficit at the end of the last financial year.

Surrey Patients' Forum said the trust should also introduce a renal unit to Surrey so patients did not have to pay to travel to South London for treatment.

Surrey PCT was formed from five separate trusts in October last year and Chris Butler, the chief executive, said: "This is absolutely what we expected of ourselves at the time of the health check.

"We were a brand new organisation, barely six months old, and the results published today reflect our performance dated from April 2006 to March this year. This is not an excuse and progress and improvements are already being seen."

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