A report detailing widespread claims of staff feeling bullied at the health trust which runs Whipps Cross University Hospital has been welcomed as “tough but fair”.

Inspections took place after a systemic catalogue of failings was uncovered at the Leytonstone hospital by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors last year.

These included elderly patients being found to have suffered falls, developed bed sores and were left with food and water out of their reach.

Maternity care at the hospital was also found to be well below acceptable standards.

Further concerns over infection control, safety, equipment availability and support given to staff, led to three warning notices being issued, which have now been lifted after follow-up inspections.

Despite inspectors noting “many positive findings”, essential equipment was still found to be unavailable in some parts of the hospital and many staff reported bullying by bosses across Barts Health NHS Trust, which is the biggest in England and runs four other hospitals in east London.

The CQC report said: “Particularly where changes to services and/or staffing levels were being implemented. Some people felt afraid to discuss their concerns with the organisation – in some instances about patients’ safety – for fear of reprisals.”

A Barts Health spokeswoman said:  “Today’s report from the CQC on our Trust is tough but fair.

“We are reaffirming very strongly that bullying has no place at Barts Health, and staff are strongly encouraged to raise any concerns they have about their workplace or the care provided to our patients,” she added.

“Progress has already been made, as the CQC has acknowledged by removing the three warning notices issued last year.  Many other improvements have been made, including the swift replacement of broken equipment, and we will redouble our efforts to address the compliance requirements and other improvement set out by the CQC.”

The CQC said trust leadership and aspects of the way hospitals are organised must be improved.

The trust is committed to working with staff to provide a “healthy, open” working environment across the organisation, the spokeswoman added.