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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hygiene standards in NHS hospitals have been called into question after it emerged they are routinely dealing with infestations of vermin.

Hospitals infested with rats, fleas and bed bugs
Article in the Telegraph


"Outbreaks have included rats in maternity wards, wasps and fleas in neo-natal units, bed bug infestations, flies in operating theatres and maggots found in patients' slippers.

The data, uncovered using Freedom of Information rules, include hospitals with maggots, "over-run" with ants and mi.ce "all over" wards; cockroaches in a urology unit and a store for sterile materials infested with mice."

"The Conservatives asked all 171 hospital trusts in England for details of pest control incidents for the last two years.

Of those, 127 Trusts responded and almost all had experienced problems and 100 of them collected detailed information about pest infestations.

In total there were almost 20,000 reports of pest problems and seven out of 10 trusts that responded reported they had called in pest control officers more than 50 times since January 2006 - an average of once a fortnight."

"Of the trusts that collected detailed information 80 per cent had problems with ants, 66 per cent had rats, 77 per cent had mice, 59 per cent had problems with cockroaches, 65 per cent had biting insects or fleas, 24 per cent had problems with bed bugs and 6 per cent had maggots.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Labour have said over and over again that they will improve cleanliness in our hospitals but these figures clearly show that they are failing. It is difficult for health service estates to maintain a completely pest free environment but the level and variety of these infestations is concerning.

"We need greater transparency in NHS infection control, and publishing data like this is one way in which we can drive up overall hygiene standards."

Eight hospitals trusts called in pest control officers more than 500 times, with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust having the most severe problem with 1,070 incidents in two years."