Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital Foundation Trust has made an “encouraging start” to improving hygiene standards, inspectors have found.

The Care Quality Commission carried out an unannounced inspection on 4 December, a week after a damning report about the trust was made public.

The inspection found that the foundation trust was now meeting the minimum requirements for infection prevention and control.

Measures taken include increasing the frequency of cleaning audits to ensure policies and practices are being followed, allocating extra cleaners to the accident and emergency department and replacing all trolley mattresses in A&E.

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said: “I am pleased to see the trust has taken action to improve in the area of infection control. It is now meeting the minimum requirements in this area and this is an encouraging start.

“The trust has begun on a journey but it has not yet arrived. It now needs to respond to the remaining concerns we have raised in other key areas,” she said.

The report was triggered by a previous inspection that found problems with the quality of emergency care, inadequate arrangements to treat children and poor nursing care.

Inspectors also had concerns about leadership, high mortality rates for emergency admissions and the quality of care of people with learning disabilities.

Ms Bower said: “We will be checking closely to ensure everything is put right, and we will not stop until this is done.

“It is imperative that the trust addresses these issues urgently and effectively on behalf of the people of Basildon and Thurrock.”

Trust chief executive Alan Whittle said: “We very much regret the unacceptable conditions that the CQC team found when they inspected A&E in October. We took immediate remedial action during the visit and instigated a series of actions in response to their feedback. We are pleased they have been able to report positively on the improvements that they saw on their second visit.”