Hospitals have claimed that criticism of their pest control is unfounded, with figures showing they are tackling the problem.
Figures obtained by the Conservative Party under the Freedom of Information Act showed that NHS trusts reported almost 20,000 incidents of pest infestation in hospitals over the past two years. Incidents included rats in maternity wards, wasps and fleas in neo-natal units and maggots in patients’ slippers.
However, hospital trusts have hit back at the criticisms and defended their record. Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which was ranked third worst in the survey, said the number of recorded incidents was a reflection of how seriously staff take pest problems.
“The number of calls logged reflects the proactive approach adopted by the Trust as successful pest control relies on early identification of potential problems,” a spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said that trusts were likely to have recorded and reported figures differently and therefore the table may not be comparing like-for-like data.
John Simpson, director of estates and facilities management at the hospitals, said: “These figures must be put into context.”
Christine Braithwaite, head of the healthcare associated programme at the Healthcare Commission, said that concerns about pest control had, to date, been negligible.
Copyright PA Business 2008