The health regulator has admitted there were some similarities between failings at Whipps Cross University Hospital and serious problems uncovered at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

Shocking examples of poor care and hygiene were discovered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) during two unannounced inspections at the Leytonstone hospital in May and June.

Among a catalogue of disturbing shortcomings, the CQC found that elderly patients were left with food and water out of their reach and an inspector was forced to intervene when a blind patient cried out for a drink.

Maternity care at the hospital was also found to be well below acceptable standards, with blood stains on curtains and walls.

Two care workers were jailed for the criminal neglect of elderly patients with dementia, and cancer patients rated Barts Health one of the worst trusts for cancer care.

The trust is also struggling to cope with a £78million debt, and staff are protesting over concerns about the hospital's future.

At a meeting of the Public Health and Health Delivery Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee on Wednesday, CQC Compliance Manager for Newham and Waltham Forest, Seaton Giles, said elements similar to those found at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust had been observed at Whipps, but stressed that there was “no evidence of a Mid Staffordshire on our hands”.

Hundreds of patients suffered neglect and abuse at Stafford Hospital over a number of years.

Describing a ward for the elderly, Mr Giles said: "Patients weren’t supported to eat properly, there were not enough staff on duty in some elderly wards and on inspection days patients were found calling out, not getting pain relief when they needed it."

A Barts Health spokeswoman said additional senior staff had been appointed on elderly wards to supervise care delivery and a programme that has already begun sees the 500 staff involved in elderly care undertaking individual and team-based assessment and training in care and compassion.

Yvonne Blucher, Deputy Chief Nurse for Quality and Governance at Barts, said: "The area of maternity has been a huge challenge, we had issues around leadership attitude and behaviours that have been addressed, now different people are leading in maternity."

Barts Health insisted problems other problems were being addressed, with changes of management,  a focus on compassionate care and support for staff who wish to raise concerns.

They said there had also been investment in new maternity theatres and an emergency gynaecology unit.

Whipps Cross is not among eleven hospitals announced as being placed into special measures today, although Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned more trusts will follow.