The Care Quality Commission has raised “serious concerns” about children’s services at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust, branding them “completely unacceptable”.

The watchdog issued the trust with two warnings and ordered it to commission an independent investigation into its paediatric services at Basildon Hospital.

The warning follow an unannounced inspection sparked by “a number of serious incidents involving the care of children at the trust”.

Incidents included the death of an child who was not assessed within the 15 minutes target time at the trust’s paediatric accident and emergency department.

Andrea Gordon, CQC deputy director of operations (regions), said: “What our inspectors found at the trust on 3 November was completely unacceptable.”

Inspectors said although children attending the paediatric ward were seen by a nurse within 15 minutes of arrival but staff had confirmed to them some waited more than an hour to see a doctor.

The trust was also found to be failing “to plan and deliver care to meet the needs of children in a way that ensured their welfare and safety”.

Basildon and Thurrock has until 13 January to make improvements.

Trust chief executive Clare Panniker said a number of immediate changes had already been made to address the most pressing areas of concern. She said the trust was “absolutely committed to improving the standards of care which we deliver to children”.