Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Wednesday, 6 August 2008 11:38 UK

Hospital pests: Your stories

Hospitals in England frequently suffer from invasions of pests, such as fleas, cockroaches and rats, a report from the Conservatives claims.

Some patients and members of staff share their experience.

CAROLINE WARD-LEWIS, TUNBRIDGE WELLS

"My son was admitted to Lewisham Hospital children's surgical ward in June when he was four-weeks old.

"I saw a cockroach in the bathroom.

"It was an absolute shock, especially on a children's ward, a surgical ward."

"The cleaners didn't seem to have any pride in the job at all.

"They had the latest equipment but they weren't bothered about moving things to clean underneath them.

"One cleaner wiped the sink with a paper towel.

"I complained to the NHS Trust that no action was taken and I have still had no reply."

ROBERT TUDGEY, LONDON

"Last December my wife was at Kings College Hospital giving birth to our son.

"The labour was long and continued through the night, so I went in search of refreshments to the canteen, which was open only for access to vending machines.

"I was incredibly surprised to see a large rat doing its rounds.

"It was not fazed by my presence, it looked like it was an established part of the hospital and knew where it was going as it headed from one part of the canteen to another.

"I reported this to the midwife, who seemed genuinely shocked, but it appeared to be just 'another' let down for her."

DR RAINER TOM WOERDEN, WHITEHAVEN

"As a locum I saw loads of rats at Basildon University Hospital at the end of 2007.

"Not many hospitals officials seem be very concerned about the problem.

"Rats are attracted by easy access to food leftovers.

"These need to be locked away, inaccessible to rats or the question of food disposal needs to receive more attention."

IAN, CARDIFF

"I've just spent six weeks at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

"During the two weeks after an operation on my spine I was allowed in a wheelchair into the grounds of the hospital.

"At pond a mere 10 metres from the main entrance I counted no more than 30 rats running in a 10 minute period.

"Gazing through the window of my ward I saw many tiny cockroaches wandering about the window frame.

"We should really look into the costs of dealing with this problem on a large scale.

"We are letting things like this get out of hand.

"As one of the richest economies in the world why cant we spend a bit of time and expense in sorting this out."

LUCY, WOKING

"I stayed for a couple of months in a children's psychiatric ward a few years ago, and there was a flea infestation.

"It was not dealt with, as the staff were supposed to provide a live specimen for testing - I guess nobody issuing that order had ever tried to catch a flea.

"Every child in there became infested by the scabies mite, which burrows around under the skin causing intense itching.

"I left the hospital, and was told by my GP that the symptoms everybody had were not from "everybody getting eczema at the same time", as the doctor in the hospital had said, but this parasite.

"My GP told me this was probably from improperly cleaned fabrics in the hospital."



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