West Suffolk: Reports of rats, mice and fleas at hospital
12:07 03 January 2013
PEST control has been summoned to West Suffolk Hospital 71 times over the past two years to deal with rats, ants and fleas.
Figures released by the Bury St Edmunds hospital reveal that between January 2011 and November 2012 problems have included insects in A&E and the antenatal clinic.
Although a number of the cases and infestations occurred in non-clinical areas, there were also a number of incidents that were closer to patients.
In November 2011, traps were baited around the day treatment centre after a rat was seen while in May and June 2012 a mouse was reported in room 11 of the MacMillan Unit.
Staff were also affected by infestations, with one report of fleas in the female changing room of the day surgery unit in June 2012.
The unit again reported a problem with fleas in July and consulted pest control.
Other common problems included six reports of ants in the eye treatment centre and numerous wasp nests found in various locations – from the main entrance to car parks.
Some investigations revealed that insects were being attracted to lights or were flying through open windows, rather than nesting in the building.
According to the information, which was released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), £2,848 was spent on pest control over the two year period.
A spokesman for the Health Protection Agency said it was highly unlikely that any of the incidents could have affected the health of staff or patients.
He added: “In countries with good standards of healthcare, the possibility for insects or pests to transmit infections in hospitals would be very remote.
“In the UK, wounds are treated appropriately and dressings applied to ensure good hygiene and prevent infection.”
A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital said: “Good hygiene is a high priority at West Suffolk Hospital, and we take pride in maintaining a clean, well-looked after environment for our patients.
“However, as with any large public building, it is sometimes necessary for us to take action against pests.
“We constantly monitor the site for problems and have robust procedures in place to deal quickly and effectively with any incidents which do occur.”
The FOI response said none of the infestations were serious.