The National Health Service (NHS) was forced to call out pest-control on average 600 times a month in 2013/14, as unwanted creatures were spotted in hospitals and even attacked patients.
Labour has jumped on the figures to blame the Conservatives for the pests. A spokesman said NHS cuts were to blame for the low standards of cleanliness, but the Conservatives insisted the rate of hospital infections – most often caused by dirty hospitals – had halved during this government.
Besides the infestations of rats and cockroaches, a number of hospitals had serious problems with ants. At Ludlow Hospital in Shropshire, when contacting pest control the hospital, remarked that ants were infesting the maternity ward and were getting close to babies. Another hospital, in North Bristol, put out an “urgent” order for control after ants were found to be crawling over patients.
In yet another hospital, staff were disturbed to find mental health patients had been bitten by animals while under their care.
One of the greatest scandals linked to the former Labour government was the discovery of a tick-box managerial culture at a number of hospitals which led to them giving the impression of being well run on paper, but seriously lacking in practice. The crisis, typified by the Mid-Staffordshire scandal saw thousands of patients die unnecessarily from conditions ranging from hospital-acquired disease, and even simple ailments like dehydration.
A Conservative spokesman said “Ed Miliband’s latest attempt to weaponise the NHS has backfired, as these figures actually show hospitals are much cleaner now than they were under the last Labour government”, reports The Daily Mail.