TREATMENT at Colchester’s hospitals is still not safe enough despite the best efforts of frontline doctors and nurses, inspectors have ruled.

Eight months on from the cancer scandal, a “credible” board is still to be recruited to run the trust in charge of Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital, according to a Care Quality Commission report published today.

Inspectors found medicine was being prescribed and administered incorrectly at Colchester General’s children’s ward, while 15 per cent of outpatient appointments at Essex County were cancelled in February, March and April.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, said the problems discovered during the probe in May were so bad that sanctions would ordinarily be imposed.

But because Colchester Hospitals Trust was already in special measures, he had notified regulator Monitor, which will ensure fresh issues, including a shortage of nurses on many medical wards, were addressed.

For a special report, see Thursday's Gazette