United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has been urged by the Care Quality Commission to improve several areas, including safeguarding people from abuse, amid concerns it does not meet quality and safety standards.

The CQC review, which included an unannounced inspection at Lincoln County Hospital in June, assessed the trust’s compliance with new quality and safety standards, which came into effect on 1 April.

Inspectors said, although there were examples of good quality care, the trust was not fully meeting four standards relating to safeguarding people from abuse, respecting and involving people who use services, management of medicines and supporting workers.

Although the breaches were not “immediate risks” to safety, the CQC said the trust must establish plans to improve the four areas. If progress is not made, the watchdog will act to enforce improvements.

Concerns included patients sometimes waiting up to four hours in the theatre recovery area after their surgical procedure because of a high demand for beds on wards. With no toilets in the area, people had to use a bed pan, compromising their dignity.

Inspectors also found not all staff were clear about what to do if they suspected a patient was being abused and not all had received training on the protection of vulnerable adults.

Some staff left medication at patients’ bedsides and did not always give them help to take it when needed, they said.

The CQC said inspectors found examples of good quality care, including adequate staffing levels, staff enjoying their work and staff knowing what to do if a patient’s condition deteriorated.

Inspectors also looked at planning for surgical procedures, observing good teamwork and junior doctors being appropriately supervised.

Andrea Gordon, CQC regional director, said: “We want to reassure the public that we do not believe there are immediate risks to patient safety.

“But compliance with standards is not optional. Patients should be able to expect a certain level of care wherever they receive treatment. The trust must take swift action to address our concerns.”

The CQC said it wrote to the trust in May requiring improvements in areas including supporting staff, supporting people to understand the care they receive, and in handling complaints.

The watchdog said the trust had provided action plans and was demonstrating improvements in these areas.

A statement from the trust said it had already started to address the latest issues.

“It is important to us and our patients that we meet the safety and quality standards laid out by the CQC and we welcome their review process to help us to do this,” it said.

“Their feedback in this report enables us to continue to build on the excellent standards of care that were identified by the CQC during their inspection.

“We have already begun work to address the areas where action needs to be taken. We are pleased that the CQC has recognised that patient safety is always the trust’s foremost priority and that we provide safe care to our patients.”