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Pest control

“A hospital will suffer the same pest issues as any other large residential property”

But what pests can one expect to need to deal with and how do these differ from the “outside world”?

Seeking shelter Pest species such as rodents, birds and insects will be attracted to any building that can offer them more warmth, shelter and food than their natural environment. Hospitals are bound to be a popular choice of refuge.

Pest controller Adam Juson runs Merlin Environmental, based in the south east. He says, “A hospital will suffer the same pest issues as any other large residential property, after all it is basically a hotel for sick people.” However, he adds, “risk assessment and mitigation measures are different due to the unusual nature of the site. Depending on the type of facility you may be working around people with a wide range of issues ranging from physical impairment such as amputees, the blind, respiratory issues, suppressed immune systems to those who wish to cause themselves harm. This has

44 January/February 2013 | HefmA Pulse

an impact on the techniques and products selected for any monitoring and control programme.” For example, he explains, “You would not use plastic mouse boxes to kill mice on a psychiatric ward. You would have to use key-specific metal boxes.”

Some of the main repeat pest

offenders, says Juson, are mice in the maintenance store, bed bugs on a ward, bed bugs in rehabilitation flats, foxes in bins and flies around bins. In the supported living sector, says Juson, “We see lots of bed bug issues. And with the swing towards community-based care packages it is likely we will see even more.” One of the key differences between pest control in the healthcare sector and the rest of the world is that activities can be accessed under the Freedom Of Information Act. So, says Juson, “We see headlines like ‘Hospital Calls Pest Control 60 Times In A Year and it’s taken to mean that the hospital is overrun with rats. If a journalist sees rat boxes around a hospital it must

be infested and can’t be proactive monitoring.”

Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, Juson believes we are seeing a swing away from “‘proper’ proactive pest control to bait box kicking”. He cites changes in specification wording from “A thorough and complete inspection of the site to be carried out every month including inspecting and servicing rodent and insect monitoring points” to “Inspect and service all monitor points annotating all inspection labels accordingly”. He adds, “The impetus has shifted from providing a thorough pest prevention system to providing a documentary system to hide behind.”

In some cases, Juson believes

all proactive work has stopped and sites are only reacting to complaints: “I fear this will continue as budgets are squeezed. Historically contracts were tendered on a best-value basis, taking into account the service levels and specific skills of the service company. However the tendering process is now forcing a race to the bottom to win contracts, this will

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