Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Hospitals 'infested with vermin'

The cleanliness of most NHS hospitals in England is threatened by frequent invasions of rats, fleas, bedbugs, flies and cockroaches, a report claims.

Figures released by the Conservatives show that 70% of NHS Trusts brought in the pest controllers at least 50 times over a two-year period.

Vermin were found in wards, clinics and even operating theatres. A patients' group said the situation was revolting.

But health chiefs played down fears the infestations could lead to disease.

The figures were obtained by the Conservatives under the Freedom of Information Act, with every hospital asked to reveal how often pest controllers had visited between January 2006 and March this year.

One had wasps in a neo-natal unit, and flying ants on the main wards, while another reported rats in their maternity unit, and wasps in operating theatres.

A children's A&E was infested with flies, and main wards were also home to mice, silverfish, biting insects and beetles.

Other common problems included bedbugs, fleas and cockroaches.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Labour have said over and over that they will improve cleanliness in our hospitals, but these figures clearly show that they are failing."

Both the Department of Health and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) were sceptical of suggestions by the Conservatives that the presence of insect infestations could help spread infections among patients.


article here