Hospitals spend thousands of pounds tackling pests including cockroaches and rats

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Sheffield Teaching Hospitals spent over £16,000 on pest control this year it has been revealed, after new figures showed thousands of pests including cockroaches and rats have been found in NHS hospitals in the UK.

Nationally the cost of tackling pests within hospitals has spiralled over the last five years, with the latest figures showing 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 areas where pests have been sighted nationally, included maternity wards, children's intensive care units and operating theatres.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust spent £16,808.89 on the problem in 2015/16 compared to £14,370.80 in 2014/15 and £14,121.00 in 2012/13.

In Rotherham Trust bosses spent £4,658.43 on pest control in 2015/16 - down from £5,881.62 the previous year.

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 only 87 of around 150 trusts responded to the Freedom of Information request.

Some refused to say how much they had spent, citing private finance initiative deals or that the information was 'commercially sensitive'.

Costs have soared compared with five years ago, based on an analysis of the like-for-like data from the 48 trusts that provided figures for both 2011/12 and 2015/16, which showed a rise of more than 26% over the period from £646,857 to £815,855.

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.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Hospitals must have an effective pest control policy and the use of experts is good practice to ensure that buildings are kept clean and safe for patients."