TOILET brushes encrusted with faeces and clinical waste left in corridors for hours were just some of the problems uncovered by a Channel 4 documentary on Ealing Hospital shown on Friday.

Hygiene standards in the wards were under scrutiny when TV's dirt-busting duo Kim and Aggie were invited to the hospital which, in 2003, had the third highest rates of MRSA in the country.

Thankfully no traces of the superbug were found, but microbiologists did find bacteria staphyloccus aureus on the bed tables that patients ate from, their lockers and telephones which, if they become resistant to antibiotics, can become MRSA.

Fiona Wise, the chief executive of Ealing Hospital, said that despite the programmes findings, she felt the hospital was clean.

She said: "I think the hospital is broadly clean but there are areas that are not, due to a number of factors.

"It is impossible to achieve 100 per cent cleanliness 24-7, because people do abuse the hospital, but NHS cleaning standards are reached and are maintained rigorously."

She added: "We hope that the programme has gone some way to showing that Ealing is a very good hospital which has made significant improvements in the last two years, and that the programme has opened people's eyes to the fact that everybody has a part to play in controlling infection both inside and outside hospitals - and that this is a far more complex issue than many people think."

Kim and Aggie spent three months at the hospital visiting key areas, talking to staff and looking at ways hospitals could address cleanliness and infection control.

One of the most worrying aspects revealed by secret cameras, placed in the hospital over one weekend, was that 55 per cent of nurses and 93 per cent of doctors did not use hand gels when entering wards, something which is designed to reduce the spread of infection.

Mrs Wise said: "I am not trying to defend the fact that more than half my staff don't wash their hands.

"We are not perfect but it is very difficult to be perfect 24 hours a day.

"We have put in big signs to improve handwashing and are changing the gel bottles to make it easier to dispense."

The hospital's medical director, Dr Bill Lynn, said: "We have been criticised on TV before for cleanliness on our wards and have been making a massive effort to improve cleanliness throughout the hospital.

"An action plan has been put in place and many of the issues raised in the programme were already, or have since, been addressed."