NHS hospitals rodents maggots

An investigation uncovered rats in the ceiling of operating theatres in the UK and revealed maggots dropped from a cancer clinic's ceiling at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
A Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed pest control experts are being called out 12 times a day, on average, to deal with insects and rodents reported in hospitals.

It found more than 4,000 call-outs were recorded in 2016-17 and 3.614 from April and December last year - totting up a bill of £3 million.

62 NHS trusts responded to Freedom of Information requests sent to 135 across England.

The investigation uncovered rats were found in operating theatres at Exmouth Hospital, and evidence of them was also found at University Hospital Coventry.

It revealed maggots dropped from a cancer clinic's ceiling at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Reports of a false widow spider were logged at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust and in the creche at Queen's Hospital in Romford.

The Intensive Care Unit at Walsall Hospital had cockroaches and the chemotherapy unit at the Hospital of North Tees also saw an infestation.

The FOI revealed mice were found in the private maternity wing at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and rats were seen six times in less than three years at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, Essex.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth told the newspaper: "Years of Tory under-funding and cuts to hospital maintenance budgets have led to these infestations.

"Patients will be disgusted and Theresa May should be ashamed."

A spokeswoman for the British Pest Control Association said the majority of the pest problems were found in older hospitals.

Pests carry bacteria and disease, such as salmonella and Weil's disease.

Contracts with pest control firms can stretch in the thousands - with some private companies said to cost trusts £40,000 a year.

An NHSI spokesperson said: "Hospitals must have an effective pest control policy and the use of experts is good practice to ensure that buildings are kept clean and safe for patients."

On Friday night we reported Secretary Jeremy Hunt is ready to trigger a landmark cross-party Royal Commission into the future of the NHS, senior Tories claim.