Arrowe Park Hospital instruments were not sterilised
A Merseyside hospital has admitted operating on patients with equipment that had not been sterilised.
Arrowe Park Hospital said routine checks found some medical instruments had not been fully decontaminated.
The equipment had been used on nine patients, including a woman who had a caesarian section, but tests showed they were not infected.
A spokesman said the hospital is investigating how it happened and a staff inquiry has taken place.
A member of staff contacted the BBC's North West Tonight programme, saying the Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Trust was trying to "brush the issue under the carpet".'Ashamed' of NHS
They blamed the "overstretching of staff", claiming that "basic indicators to show sterilisation has occurred" have been removed because of cost-cutting at the hospital.
The hospital said it was an "isolated incident", in which the last of three stages of decontamination had not taken place.
It said the instruments were "highly disinfected but not sterile" and the risk of infection was "extremely low".
Changes to the sterilisation indicators were "not considered a factor", a spokesman said.
A consultant and senior nurse apologised to the patients involved at a face-to-face meeting, the trust said.