Closure of a hospital was considered after its blood bank was deemed “seriously deficient” and putting patients at risk, inspectors said.
A confidential NHS report seen by the BBC shows an order that would have “effectively closed down” the West Suffolk Hospital was considered.
But the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) decided the consequences were too big.
“Satisfactory progress” has since been made by the hospital, the MHRA said.
West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, has been approached by the BBC for comment.
The medicines watchdog said the hospital put in place a “comprehensive remediation plan” after its blood transfusion services were inspected in January 2017.
According to the report “Pathology Services – The aftermath of consolidation”, the hospital’s blood bank was “seriously deficient” and “presented a significant risk of providing a product which was harmful to the patient”.
It said a “cease and desist order” was considered but the MHRA decided the consequences of closing the hospital were “considered greater than the risk of the blood bank [running] with urgent remedial action”.
An MHRA spokesman said: “Immediately following the initial inspection, the trust provided us with a comprehensive remediation plan, and satisfactory progress has been made towards the trust reaching a fully compliant state.”
West Suffolk Hospital is currently rated as “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The report also highlighted problems with changes to pathology services in the East of England.
A pathology partnership, led by Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, was set up in 2011, covering hospitals in Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, North East Essex and North and East Hertfordshire.
It made losses of £41m by March 2017, the report said.
The report highlighted a “lack of clinical leadership” which allowed “failures to go undetected until it was too late”.
It said safety concerns raised by consultants were “ignored” and some patients given the wrong results.