A pest removal expert with more than 10 years’ experience working in the industry, including hospital sites across Northern Ireland, said issues can arise due to inadequate control measures.
He also suggested the circumstances that could have led to fly larvae and maggots being discovered in a hospital laboratory and mortuary.
“A lot of the buildings are very, very old and in built-up areas which doesn’t help, but the trusts could definitely do a lot more to manage and prevent pest infestations,” he said.
“Even the new buildings aren’t put up with pest control in mind.
“I know companies who work with pest control experts at the design stage of a building but that doesn’t happen with the trusts.
“I would say 80% of the trusts’ pest problems could be designed out.
“For example, pigeons are a big issue for a number of reasons, firstly they eat practically anything, including stuff that can kill them, and then their bodies are left lying.
“Secondly, they only digest about 60% of what they eat so their droppings attract rats and mice yet they still put flat roofs and then have to pay for netting to stop the birds from roosting.
“You have to protect the outside of the buildings to stop the pests coming inside.
“As far as the laboratory is concerned, a rat has likely died and the maggots have been feeding on the carcass.
“They will only start dropping off the carcass once they have stripped off all the meat and that’s why they’re coming through the ceiling.
“It’s the same with the mortuary, a rat or something like that has died in the drains and the flies are getting in that way.
“It’s disgusting and it shouldn’t be happening.”
He said a major and frequently occurring problem is placing traps in the wrong location.
“You see them next to the door in every corridor, but that’s the last place you see a mouse or rat,” he explained.
“Mice are incontinent as well so they urinate on all the surfaces they’re on, it’s not good enough in a hospital.”
Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw said she intends to bring our findings to health officials.
“This will of course raise serious questions around the dignity of people using the health facilities and the safety of those working in them,” she said.
“I will be raising immediate questions on what changes have been made and are being made to pest control services.
“People would rightly assume that health facilities would all operate to the highest standards of cleanliness. These findings demonstrate clearly that hygiene needs to be a much higher priority.”