The East and North Herts NHS Trust has said it is taking the Care Quality Commission's report into Lister Hospital's maternity ward "very seriously", following an inadequate rating.

An inspection was carried out by the CQC in October last year, with the unit at the Stevenage-based hospital seeing its rating drop from good in the report published on Friday.

It was found that women and babies were not receiving the proper standard of care, while issues where raised over safeguarding.

READ MORE: Lister Hospital maternity ward rated inadequate by CQC

The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has issued a statement, making it clear that the report has been taken "very seriously", with efforts to improve already being made.

"Our maternity team work incredibly hard and keep the interests of women and birthing people central to everything they do," said chief executive Adam Sewell-Jones. 

"I want to reassure you that our hospital remains a safe place to give birth – as shown by other national measures that we regularly review and report on.

"However, we take this report very seriously and our new director of midwifery has already led immediate and thorough action to increase cleanliness, and to ensure that our equipment is up to the required standard.

"We have a detailed improvement plan to address remaining issues and will report openly on our progress.

"We recognise the national shortage of midwives; however our staffing levels are in-line with other maternity units in the east of England and since the inspection we have recruited 17 more midwives."