The kitchen that provides patients' food at Watford General Hospital has been given a one-star hygiene rating.

An environmental health officer from Watford Borough Council raised serious concerns after visiting the ward kitchen at the hospital on November 26.

The officer gave a hygiene rating of just one-star out of five - the second-lowest rating - and concluded that major improvement is necessary.

Full details of the inspection report are not yet publicly available because the council's investigation is ongoing.

The report will be released once the investigation is complete.

Watford General Hospital says immediate changes have already been made because of the rating, which was published on the Food Standards Agency website.

Harrow Times:

Environmental health inspections are split into three categories - management of food safety, cleanliness and condition of the facilities and building, and hygienic food handling.

The Food Standards Agency website says major improvement is needed in food safety management.

This includes whether checks are in place to ensure food is safe to eat, evidence that staff know about food safety, and that the food safety officer has confidence standards will be maintained.

Improvement is also required in hygienic handling of food preparation, cooking, reheating, cooling, and storage.

The cleanliness and condition of the kitchen, which takes into account hand-washing, pest control, ventilation, and layout, was rated good.

West Herts Hospitals Trust director of environment Paddy Hennessy said: "We are very disappointed with this rating, which does not meet the high standards of care we hold for our patients.

"Since the inspection we have replaced equipment and implemented checks and audits to ensure the food handling environment is safe for our patients.

"We are also providing enhanced training for all staff who handle food so there are strong food safety management procedures in place.

"We look forward to the next inspection where we can demonstrate our improvements and the progress we have made."

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: "The council works closely with every organisation in Watford that serve food to the public. It is essential that they all meet the highest standards of health and safety.

"When there is a low hygiene rating, we work with them to get back on track and bring them up to standard. In this case, our environmental health team is supporting Watford General Hospital. This will continue until the rating improves."