Hospital pest levels revealed

IPSWICH Hospital had more than 50 visits from pest controllers over a two-year period, it emerged today.

Naomi Cassidy

IPSWICH Hospital had more than 50 visits from pest controllers over a two-year period, it emerged today.

New figures show that Ipswich Hospital was one of 89 NHS Trusts across England that had more than 50 visits from pest controllers between January 2006 and April this year.

The results, which were released after a Freedom of Information request by the Conservatives, brought the issue of hospital cleanliness standards back on to the national agenda.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital today said that the need for pest controllers was down to a few isolated incidents.

She said: “We have a very large site and like any organisation which has a large site, we sometimes have issues with infestations. “We do not have huge scale problems. The vast majority of problems across the hospital have been with ants or flying ants. There have also been instances with bees, beetles, and a cockroach was seen on one occasion.

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“We have called in pest control so they could deal with these problems.”

Prue Rush, spokeswoman for the former Patient and Public Involvement Forum, and now a volunteer worker at the hospital, said: “On the one hand we should be grateful that they have noticed there is a problem and they are prepared to get in there and sort it out.

“There has been a building site there for some time, which could have led to some unwanted creatures. These visits [from pest control] show they are keeping on top of it.

“They have to make sure any food waste products are sealed up and kept away from vermin. If anyone sees anything, they should report it as soon as possible.”

John Gummer, Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, said: “The truth is that one of the fundamental problems of the NHS generally is housekeeping. It is the first thing you have to get right.

“Ipswich Hospital has tried very hard recently to improve its record. Visits from pest control officers are not necessarily a bad thing. “I want to look very carefully as to what this means for Ipswich Hospital.”

Every hospital was asked how many visits it got from pest controllers and of those that responded with detailed information, 80 per cent said they had problems with ants, 66 per cent had rats and 77 per cent had mice.

Have you seen any problems with pests at Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail