The family of a patient at Watford General Hospital has branded infection control "beyond a joke" after a pressure cushion which had been used for a week was found to be covered in a previous patient's faeces.

Double stroke patient Eric Weatherly, 76, contracted a serious chest infection and was admitted to an isolation room in the Acute Admissions Unit on Saturday, October 4.

His daughter Lara visited on the following Saturday, October 11, and discovered the pressure cushion he had been sitting on in his chair was covered in dried faeces and urine.

The Holywell resident said: "It’s disgusting. Infection control is beyond a joke there. My father was sitting there on the cushion covered in faeces - it’s unacceptable."

She said she was shocked such a thing could happen, especially when her father was supposed to be in isolation conditions.

Lara, whose parents live in Kytes Drive, explained: "It’s sick.

"I went to see him on Saturday and the pressure cushion was covered in someone else’s faeces and urine.

"I confronted the nurses - everyone was just passing the buck.

"My dad is paralysed and has a catheter - the faeces were dried. They couldn’t have been his.

"But even if it was his, he shouldn’t have been left to sit in it.

"He was moved to AAU the Saturday before - he had that cushion a week.

"He had been sitting in that filth for a week."

Samantha Jones, chief executive of the NHS trust in charge of Watford General, said: "I have personally been to see Mr Weatherley and apologised to him and his family for the unacceptable condition of the cushion at his bedside. When this was brought to the attention of our nursing staff, it was immediately removed.

"We are investigating what happened and, if appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken.

"As a result of recent complaints, we have, over the last few weeks, instigated a programme of unannounced spot checks by our directors on all wards and departments.

"This is in addition to a new scheme whereby a team of staff and patient representatives visit wards to monitor a variety of standards, including cleaning, hygiene and general maintenance.

"We are also meeting with senior representatives from the company which manages our cleaning contract to ensure that proper supervision and monitoring is in place so that the highest possible standards of hygiene and cleanliness are consistently met."