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Pests shock in hospitals; HEALTH: Rats, maggots and cockroach infestations.

Byline: By Alison Dayani HEALTH CORRESPONDENT

HOSPITALS across the Midlands were today shamed for harbouring scores of pest infestations as watchdogs demanded tighter controls on cleanliness.

Birmingham's University Hospital Trust, which runs Edgbaston's Queen Elizabeth and Selly Oak hospitals and Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust, in charge of Sandwell and City hospitals, both recorded more than 50 visits from pest controllers each within two years.

They were joined on the list of shame by Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals Trust and the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust.

Conservatives revealed figures to show most hospitals have had repeated problems with infestations of vermin, with nationally almost 20,000 incidents between January 2006 and April 2008.

Outbreaks have included rats in maternity wards, a sterile store infested with mice, main wards home to mice, beetles and silverfish and even maggots in patients' slippers.

Vanessa Bourne, from The Patients Association, said: "If these hospitals were restaurants they would be closed down and out of business.

"Such findings are truly revolting.

How can patients be safe amid bed bugs, fleas and rats?"

A shock 80 per cent of the 127 NHS Trusts which responded to the Freedom of Information request reported problems witants, 66 per cent with rats and 77 per cent with mice.

Cockroaches were said to have been reported at 59 per cent of trusts, fleas or other biting insects at 65 per cent and maggot infestations at six per cent of trusts. But the Government dismissed suggestions that the problems were linked to spread of hospital-acquired infections like MRSA and insisted the threat to patient safety was "negligible".

For the full list of hospitals with infestations, visit the story on www.

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OUR SAY: PAGE 14
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 6, 2008
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