A hospital in East Anglia has been the scene of 71 pest control callouts over the last two years as bosses try to keep a lid on various issues, it has been revealed.
The East Anglian Daily Times has told how West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds has encountered a number of threats to its cleanliness. These range from rats to ants and fleas, all of which have required environmental experts to be brought in to apply specialist treatments.
Insects have been found in the A&E department as well as the antenatal clinic, although it must also be pointed out that a number of the incidents have occurred in parts of the hospital that are not used to see to patients.
Hospital chiefs were forced to allow traps to be placed around the facility in November 2011 when a rat was seen in the day treatment centre, before a mouse was spotted in the MacMillan Unit in May and June last year. Such cases suggest hygiene levels have not been what they should in recent months and cleaning products could be a worthwhile investment.
A spokesman for the Health Protection Agency has played down the significance of the events, noting it is highly unlikely that the health of staff or patients could have been affected. He said that the potential for insects and pests to transmit infections in countries with good medical records is "very remote".
In response, a spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital stated: "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."
Keeping an eye on such issues should be a priority in establishments such as hospitals, where a breach of hygiene rules can have disastrous consequences.