A hospital showed “poor behaviour” towards junior staff and “a culture of bullying behaviour”, health inspectors have said.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has downgraded Northampton General Hospital from “good” to “requires improvement”.

Inspectors also found the hospital’s maternity and medical care “requires improvement”.

Dr Sonia Swart, chief executive, said staff should be treated “the way we care for patients”.

She also said the hospital had seen “unprecedented levels of demand”.

‘Demand risen’

Dr Swart said: “Of course we’re disappointed, given our previous overall rating of ‘good’.

“However, demand for our services has risen. This has impacted on our ability to sustain and improve our services even further.”

The CQC, which visited in June and July this year, also found that the hospital “requires improvement” in safety and leadership.

The report said that the

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