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Pests rife among NHS hospitals


6 August, 2008  

There have been almost 20,000 incidents of pest infestation in hospitals over the past two years, according to figures from NHS health trusts.

Outbreaks have included rats in maternity wards, wasps and fleas in neo-natal units and maggots in patients’ slippers, according to reports in the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail.

But the Government dismissed suggestions that the problems were linked to spread of hospital-acquired infections like MRSA and insisted that the threat to patient safety was “negligible”.

The details – released under the Freedom of Information Act – were obtained by the Tories, who contacted all 171 NHS trusts in England. Of the 127 which responded, almost all were said to have experienced some problems.

There were almost 20,000 reports of pest problems while seven out of 10 trusts said that they had called in pest control officers more than 50 times since January 2006.

The figures showed that 80% of NHS trusts reported problems with ants, 66% with rats and 77% with mice.

Cockroaches were said to have been reported at 59% of trusts, fleas or other biting insects at 65%, and bed bugs at 24%.

A further 6% of trusts reported infestations of maggots. Many of the problems were said to have occurred in clinical areas.

Copyright PA Business 2008

Department of Health