HEALTH watchdogs have demanded action to clean up a hospital ward.
They hit out after carrying out an infection control survey at Ellesmere Port Cottage Hospital.
The borough's Patient and Public Involvement Forum said in its report: 'Those of us who visited Ward D, the first-floor ward, were extremely disappointed at the standard of cleanliness observed.
'We also felt this ward was poorly designed from a staff and patient perspective. The wards were cramped with poor use of circulatory space.
'Those members visiting Ward D, the ground-floor ward, found the standard of cleanliness and ward layout acceptable in all but a few minor respects.
'However, both visiting teams were disappointed by the unkempt and litter-strewn exterior of the hospital.'
The report added: 'Members agreed the forum should give this matter the highest priority for action.'
Ellesmere Port & Neston Primary Care Trust (PCT) confirmed the forum had raised the matter with it.
A PCT spokeswoman explained: 'We were able to reassure them the situation was short-lived and due to the ongoing refurbishment of the hospital.
'The hospital has always worked and will continue to work to the highest standards of infection control and general cleanliness.'
She said the Chester Road facility is subject to regular infection control inspections by outside bodies. The latest was in March 2004. Each inspection has been positive.
On Monday, the hospital demonstrated its commitment to fighting the MRSA superbug by taking part in national Think Clean Day.
This initiative unites local NHS trusts, the Department of Health, Unison and other key partners to emphasise the importance of hygiene in hospitals.
On Monday, the Cottage Hospital examined standards of cleanliness on its four wards and held awareness-raising sessions for staff.
Matron Debbie Jones said: 'The event provides staff with the opportunity to think about how they work and whether there are any changes they could make to improve the cleanliness of our hospital.'