Health bosses shell out £40,000 for pest control services – but exterminators don't find a single rat

Health bosses have spent more than £40,000 on preventive pest control services in South Tyneside during the last five years.

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust was billed a total of £43,479 since 2011 for services to keep any potential critters at bay.

Trust bosses say that there’s no issue with pests at sites, including South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields, that’s simply the annual contract fees they pay to the pest control firm.

For the 2011/12 financial year £3,063 was spent, while in 2012/13 £10,036 was shelled out.

Prices dropped slightly to £9,420 in 2013/14, before rising to £10,460 in 2014/15 and to £10,500 in 2015/16.

However, in 2015/16 there were two call-outs for wasp nests at the Harton Lane hospital.

A spokesman said: “The figures for South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust do not equate to pest control call-outs but are the annual costs for contracts with a pest control firm (apart from 2011/12 which was for a six-month contract).

“The only call-outs to the South Tyneside District Hospital site in 2015/16 were for two wasps nests, which were treated and removed.”

The borough’s figures, which were obtained by the Press Association through the Freedom of Information Act, are among the lowest in the country.

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 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.

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.

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