JOHN Radcliffe Hospital bosses have admitted they knew about unhygienic conditions in operating theatres and yet did not take action until ordered to do so by the Care Quality Commission.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust reportedly decided to delay refurbishing works in an effort to minimise the impact on surgery waiting lists.

However the CQC told the trust to take immediate action after an inspection team discovered the dilapidated conditions in November.

The report described the 'poor state of repair' of the operating department with inspectors saying 'effective cleaning could not be assured'.

The trust, which also runs the Churchill Hospital in Headington, is battling to bring down its waiting lists with more than 48,800 patients waiting for non-urgent treatment as of November - 8,400 of those have waited longer than the NHS maximum of 18 weeks.

A spokesman for OUH said: “The trust was aware that the theatres at the JR required some refurbishment works, and had already been planning a schedule of remedial works for April 2019 at the time of the CQC inspection in November 2018."

Remedial works have since been carried out with the refurbishment set to start in April.

The spokesman added: “These include sealing cracks on doors and walls to enable effective cleaning, repairing floor tiles and damaged walls.

“This will give us sufficient time ahead to distribute operations across other theatres in order to minimise the impact on waiting times."