Hospital trust’s £40k bill for pest control in 5 years

A cockroach
A cockroach

Thousands of pounds are being spent every year on pest control by Wigan’s hospitals.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) spent £6,171 in the 2015/16 financial year to rid its five sites of pests such as rats and cockroaches.

Spending has increased since 2014/15 when the trust spent £4,834, but is down overall from a peak of £15,021 in 2012/13.

In total, WWL has spent £41,667 on pest control in the past five years.

David Evans, associate director of Estates and Facilities said: “We have been fortunate, here at WWL, to have been less troubled by pests in recent years; therefore it is pleasing to see that we have reduced our costs in this area.”

The figures, which have been revealed under Freedom of Information laws, showed there were nearly 5,000 pest control call-outs by NHS trusts to hospitals in England in 2015/16 - equivalent to around 13 a day.

The areas where pests have been sighted included maternity wards, children’s intensive care units and operating theatres.

The amount of money hospitals spent on treating pests reached nearly £1.1 million in the year to March 2016 and the overall figure is likely to be far higher as 87 of around 150 trusts responded to the request.

Some refused to say how much they had spent, citing private finance initiative (PFI) deals or that the information was “commercially sensitive”.

Costs have soared compared with five years ago, based on an analysis of the like-for-like data from the 62 trusts that provided figures for both 2011/12 and 2015/16, which showed a rise of more than 26 per cent over the period from £646,857 to £815,855.

The figures show that WWL has bucked this trend, with its spend down 30 per cent from 2011/12 when it spent £8,891 and 58 per cent from a high of £15,021 in 2012/13.

The majority of trusts outsourced their pest-control to private contractors such as Rentokil, ISS Facility Services and Medirest and paid for regular inspections as well as ad hoc call-outs to pest sightings.

London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust had the highest spending of the trusts which responded – £132,210 last year.

Pennine Acute Hospitals (PAH) NHS Trust recorded 302 pest sightings in 2015/16 across the four hospitals it runs in Greater Manchester.

Reports between April 2015 and March 2016 included a cockroach “infestation” in the day surgery ward at the Royal Oldham Hospital, maggots found in the accident and emergency ward kitchen and a call logged from the ROH laundry which read: “Urgent - there are lots of cockroaches”.

A spokesman for PAH said: “Recent mild winters have seen an increase in vermin across the country. We take patient, staff and visitor safety seriously and deploy preventative measures.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Hospitals must have an effective pest control policy and the use of experts is good practice to ensure that buildings are kept clean and safe for patients.”