There were 32 pest incidents recorded in Mullingar hospital in the past four years, according to records released this week.
A report published in last weekend’s Star Sunday revealed the extent to which local hospitals were forced to deal with the invasion of pests in recent years, with mice and rats the main cause for concern in Mullingar.
Incidents for which pest control services were called in Mullingar between 2006 and 2009 include sightings of mice in the out-patients department and day wards, mouse droppings in the coffee dock area, rodents in wards and the A&E kitchen area, and a sighting of dead rodents.
The Midland Regional Hospitals in Tullamore and Portlaoise both recorded higher incidence of pest control than Mullingar, with 112 incidents recorded in Tullamore between 2005 and 2009, and 99 in Portlaoise between 2006 and 2009.
In addition to rodent sightings throughout Tullamore hospital, a children’s ward in the facility had to be treated for cockroaches and beetles, and other areas for ant activity. Incidents in Portlaoise include sightings of silverfish in a maternity ward, and rats, mice, and ants in other areas.
Reacting to the report this week, a spokesperson for HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster, which represents the three midland hospitals, said that hospitals regularly contract specialist pest control companies to undertake inspections as part of their ongoing maintenance and environmental hygiene management.
“The issue of pest control is treated very seriously and every effort is made to ensure premises are free from vermin and other pests and to ensure that measures are in place to control access points, particularly at ground floor level and particularly during maintenance and construction projects,” said the spokesperson.
“All recommendations in relation to pest control made by the specialist contractors and/or HSE environmental health officers are implemented without undue delay.”
Actions recommended by pest control services in Mullingar hospital over the period included the sealing of gaps and pipes which could be serving as entry points for rodents, the sealing of under sink water pipes, and the sanitising of utensils before next use.
Nationwide, the report reveals that pest control companies were called out at least 1,136 times by hospital authorities to deal with sightings of pests over the past five years.
The worst hit hospital was Sligo General Hospital, with 199 incidents between 2005 and 2009. Tullamore is third on the list, Portlaoise fifth, and Mullingar seventh.