NATIONAL reports claiming Hinchingbrooke Hospital was hampered by infestations of pests were exaggerated and taken out of context , the Huntingdon hospital said this week. Lists naming and shaming NHS trusts around the country were released by the Co
NATIONAL reports claiming Hinchingbrooke Hospital was hampered by "infestations" of pests were "exaggerated" and "taken out of context", the Huntingdon hospital said this week.
Lists naming and shaming NHS trusts around the country were released by the Conservative Party last week after it gathered data through the Freedom of Information Act.
The Tories used the data - listing infestations, suspected infestations and pest incidents - to claim the Labour Government was failing with hospital cleanliness.
The main findings suggested that nationally between January 2006 and March 2008, there were nearly 20,000 infestations or suspected infestations, with one NHS trust experiencing over 1,000 pest incidents.
Hinchingbrooke was listed as having had 50 or more visits from pest controllers in that period.
The hospital told The Hunts Post that there had been 38 sightings or "suspected" sightings of pests between June 2007 to June 2008, but many were in the hospital grounds.
The sightings included mice, ants, rats, wasps, fleas - and a squirrel.
A hospital spokesman said: "Reports of infestations have been greatly exaggerated. It is important to put these sightings into the context of where Hinchingbrooke Hospital is situated, which is next to a country park.
"Our pest control measures have been implemented for this very reason and it is something we take very seriously. It is extremely difficult to prevent pests from coming on to the hospital grounds. However, the programme of maintenance and pest control helps to ensure that their entry into buildings is minimised and treated as soon as possible."
The breakdown is listed as: six suspected mice or sighted droppings, 13 reports of ants, seven reports of wasps and suspected nests, eight reported instances of fleas, three suspected rats seen in the hospital grounds and one suspected squirrel in the hospital grounds.
The Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust released a statement on Monday to reassure patients.
It said a review of preventative pest control measures was carried out each week and that any reported incidents were dealt with quickly and effectively. Staff are encouraged to report any suspicion of pest activity so that measures could taken immediately.
"This approach means that potential problems can be eradicated before reaching infestation levels," it added.
Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust called out pest controllers 228 times between January 2006 and April 2008 to deal with rodents and insects, according to figures released by the Conservative Party.