The Telegraph reports that 127 of 171 hospital trusts responded to a survey, and 100 had kept detailed information on the types of infestations:
Of the trusts that collected detailed information 80 per cent had problems with ants, 66 per cent had rats, 77 per cent had mice, 59 per cent had problems with cockroaches, 65 per cent had biting insects or fleas, 24 per cent had problems with bed bugs and 6 per cent had maggots.
It goes without saying that mice, rats, fleas, flies and cockroaches constitute a definite hygiene and health issue.
But which of these pests can cause itchy bites which may become infected, and can also hitchhike a ride home and cause months and months of misery, the loss of possessions, time, sleep and money?
That’s right: bed bugs.
Bed bugs in hospitals are not exclusively an NHS problem; I don’t doubt for a minute that bed bugs are appearing in hospitals everywhere. (Lest the Conservative politicians who requested this data try and argue the private sector would provide bed bug-free hospitals.)
Just like hotels, hospitals are going to get bed bugs. They come with the people. But the key is: how quickly do they detect them, and how aggressively do they eliminate them?
The information was obtained by the Freedom of Information Act, and it’s a reminder that just because we don’t usually hear in the media that our local hospital has bed bugs, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t.