SOUTH Essex hospitals have been handed their lowest cleanliness scores EVER in a patient survey.

The latest NHS annual inpatients survey has shown hospitals across Essex were dirtier than they were last year.

In the survey, patients aged 16 and above, who spent at least one night in hospital in July 2018, were asked to score the cleanliness of the hospital out of 100.

The average score across all NHS trusts in England was 89.1, which is the lowest ever recorded.

Southend Hospital gained the lowest score, 85.4, since records began in 2015/16 when it scored 87.5.

Basildon Hospital also scored an all-time low of 88.4 down from 91.5 over the same period.

The Mid Essex Hospital was the only one in the county cleaner than average at 91.2.

Unison said the downward trend on cleanliness was worrying but not unexpected.

Sasha Pearce, the union’s eastern regional head of health said: “While it is worrying that patients are less satisfied with the cleanliness of their hospitals, it shouldn’t come as any great surprise.

“Our NHS is reeling from a decade of austerity and is still dangerously underfunded and understaffed whatever promises Boris Johnson made on his way to Number 10.”

Ms Pearce added: “Cleaning services are coming under pressure to save more money despite already being cut to the bone – the only option available is to reduce the cleaning quality.

“What the public – and hard-pressed NHS staff – want is proper funding for our health service to heal the wounds inflicted on it since 2010.”

Eamon Malone, chief estates and facilities officer for Mid and South Essex University Hospitals Group, said: “We appreciate all patient feedback and use this alongside our formal audits and inspections.

“This survey is a patient opinion score, not an audit of cleanliness, and reflects that the estate at Southend Hospital is old, especially compared to some of the newer builds at other hospitals.

“The trust is benchmarked within the ‘about the same as other trusts’ range regarding the patient experience survey and we did not see a statistically significant drop in score compared to 2017. We undertake regular internal cleaning audits and externally led Patient Assessments. Recent pre-assessments concluded that overall cleanliness was good throughout.”