A York hospital trust has spent more than £60,000 on tackling pests since 2021 – including rats and cockroaches, figures show.

Last year 56 pests were reported at buildings run by the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

That year there were eight reports of silverfish, four reports of rats, 14 reports of ants, one report of flying ants and one report of cockroaches and mice.

York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell said the findings were “unacceptable”, adding that outsourced facilities management companies are “failing to keep our hospitals safe”.

A York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said it takes “rapid action” using experts so staff and patients are not affected by pests.

York Press: York HospitalYork Hospital

The data obtained by the FOI request reveals that the trust – which runs York and Scarborough hospitals – has spent £65,726 on pest control since 2021.

At hospitals run by the trust, there were 60 pests reported in 2021/22, 47 in 2022/23 and 56 in 2023/24.

A trust spokesperson told The Press: “Like other hospitals, we have an effective pest control policy that anticipates and manages this issue. 

"When incidents are reported we take rapid action, using experts, to quickly identify and deal with the issue so that staff and patients are not affected.  

“This is followed through with surveillance to avoid and minimise pest incidents and minimize hazards.

“The majority of call outs have been to deal with ants, silverfish, and other insects.”

Across England, over 60 NHS Trusts have reported £3.7 million spent on pest control at their hospitals since 2021.

Findings are 'unacceptable' - York Central MP

Ms Maskell told The Press: "Infection prevention and control is the single most important intervention that provides for a safe clinical environment, and yet as this report demonstrates, outsourced facilities management companies are failing to keep our hospitals safe.

“It is time to bring these services back in house and ensure that everyone in the NHS is focused on delivering services in the best interests of patients.

“It is unacceptable to learn that cockroaches, rats and other insects are finding their way into our NHS while outsourced companies profit out of these failings."

York Press: York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell (Image: Danny Lawson/PA)

Responding to the England-wide figures, Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said: “These are shocking revelations and another sign our hospitals are no longer up to scratch for sick patients and hardworking staff.  

“In people’s hour of need, they need to be safe from bugs and rodents. Instead, wards are falling apart at the seams with foul pests allowed to roam freely. This is a national scandal.

“Conservative ministers must act now by bringing forward emergency funds for crumbling and unhygienic hospitals.”

York Press: Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed DaveyLiberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey (Image: James Manning/PA)

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Individual NHS organisations are legally responsible for maintaining their estates, including pest control.

“Patient safety is vital, and the government has invested significant sums to upgrade and modernise NHS buildings so staff have the facilities needed to provide world-class care for patients, including £4.2 billion this financial year.

"This is on top of the expected £20 billion for the New Hospital Programme.”

They added that the government has invested a further £1.7 billion for over 70 hospital upgrades across England.