‘Worrying’ rat infestation sees hospital wards overrun with scurrying vermin

An extraordinary rat infestation at an NHS hospital saw vermin scurrying around staff rooms, wards and even a kitchen.

Staff and patients at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital said the filthy rodents had been seen among beds as well as in numerous other places throughout the building

BirminghamLive first reported sightings by hospital insiders in the kitchen of Ward 2, an acute medicine facility, and Ward 3, where renal treatment takes place.

A pest control operation is now taking place in the Ward 2 kitchen and Ward 3 staff room, according to the hospital.

A spokesman for Heartlands said: "A pest control issue is being managed in the hospital. Appropriate measures are in place to minimise any disruption."

The relative of one patient said vermin had been seen around beds.

They told BirminghamLive: "It's very worrying. Mesh has been erected on the windows of the kitchen and one patient has said she's seen a rat on the ward."

Postnatal patients were even moved moved to other beds as exterminators moved in and the area was deep-cleaned.

The very same ward was evacuated in 2016 after a mice invasion.

Between 2011 and 2016, no fewer than 717 reports of pests including midges and cockroaches were filed at Heartlands alone.

The UK's rat population has spiraled since the first lockdown, with the rodents infiltrating empty offices and restaurants in search for food.

Pest control firm pest.co.uk said Birmingham is the nation's second most infested city, with a rat population of almost 2.5 million.

The human population of Birmingham is 1.1 million.

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Pest.co.uk director Jonathan Ratcliffe told the news website: "Rats, if they're given takeaway, will love it. But if push comes to shove a cable will do. They'll eat wood, carpet plastics.

"Leave them alone and they'll cause a nightmare – they'll eat anything."

Heartlands Hospital first opened in 1895 and was the first in the region to take night-time helicopter landings.

The hospital is currently building a new ambulatory care centre at the cost of nearly £100m.

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