Work is already underway to address issues raised by a health watchdog about Watford General Hospital, according to its chief executive.

Samantha Jones said West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust had already recruited 160 new nurses to improve care at the Vicarage Road hospital.

Her comments come as the hospital failed to meet required standards in five of six key areas in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in December.

Following the release of the report, she said: "We welcome the Care Quality Commission’s report into Watford Hospital following a routine unannounced inspection in December 2013. 

"The feedback we received from the CQC highlights many strengths, including that our patients are treated with respect and are involved in discussions about their care and treatment.  They also said that our patients are able to influence how services are managed and that the organisation is well run.

"In addition, the CQC reported good feedback from the patients they met, with often very complimentary remarks about the attention and attitude of our staff towards them.

"Unfortunately, the CQC have raised a number of minor concerns, including in relation to staffing, the control of infections, record keeping and the way in which we manage risk.

"As a result, we have recently submitted a detailed action plan to the CQC which will also be shared with our trust board and partners.

"We were already aware of many of the issues raised by the CQC and work was underway to address them. This includes a decision taken by the trust board last summer to spend an additional £3.9 million a year to recruit 160 extra nurses. 

"We were also in the process of making significant changes to the way we prevent and control infections, with a specific focus on ensuring our cleaning teams meet the highest possible standards.  We have also put in place new training for our staff and our senior nurses undertake formal spot checks to ensure our wards and clinics are clean.

"We are committed to providing our patients with the very best care and we will ensure that our action plan is implemented in full and will share feedback with our patients, local people and partners."