COCKROACHES, ants and biting insects are just some of the bugs that are invading Wigan hospitals.
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) have spent thousands of pounds on pest control at all three of their sites over the past three years according to data released through a freedom of information request.
In total the trust spent £24,000 on pest control at Wigan Infirmary, Wrightington Hospital and Leigh Infirmary.
The costs covered call outs for unhygienic menaces including ants, silverfish, flies, cockroaches, wasps, pigeons and rodents.
The Royal Albert Edward Infirmary (RAEI) has had 229 call-outs in the past three years, with Wrightington having 75 call outs and Leigh Infirmary had 61.
However, WWL stress there is no need to be alarmed and that the cost is not high when considering the three sites.
A spokeswoman for WWL said: “The Trust has in place a maintenance contract with pest control specialists to minimize any potential pest infestation at its hospital sites.
“In addition to the routine planned maintenance element of the contract, this also includes an emergency ‘call-out’ service to respond immediately to any problems which arise.
“This is one of many maintenance contracts which the Trust budgets for on an annual basis to ensure satisfactory operation of its estate.
“Given the number, size, location and age of the hospital sites, the spend over the last three years of £24,000 is considered to be a reasonable response to ensure our premises are kept pest free and avoids any impact on patient services.”
However, the news has come as a worry for some patient care groups.
Roger Goss, co-director of the campaign group Patient Concern, said: “It is terrifying and it shows that the rhetoric about patient safety being the number one priority is often little more than hollow words. You’d have thought this kind of problem would not be allowed to arise because cleaning systems are so continuous and efficient.
“But instead there is a question of priorities.
“If you’ve got targets to treat everyone in A&E within four hours, then this kind of thing is unglamorous by comparison and doesn’t happen.
“There is no target to avoid rats in palliative care units, so it does not happen.”