40 operations cancelled at embattled hospital after rat is discovered in surgical theatre

Rats can spread salmonella and the potentially deadly Weil’s disease

An embattled hospital was forced to cancel 40 operations after the discovery of a rat in one of its surgical theatres, it emerged today.

King's Mill Hospital, in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, which is reported to be facing a £2bn debt under the controversial private finance initiative (PFI), confirmed that it called in pest controllers last week.

Senior managers apologised to patients but said none had been put at risk by the presence of the rat which is believed to have entered the theatre when it was not in use.

Rats can spread salmonella and the potentially deadly Weil’s disease.

Karen Tomlinson, director of operations at the hospital, said rodents had not been discovered in any other part of the hospital.

She said: “As soon as we became aware of this fact the following morning, we immediately took steps to thoroughly clean the area and called in external pest control experts to eradicate the problem.

"Whilst this work was under way, it was therefore necessary to postpone a small number of operations and we have apologised to any patients affected for the inconvenience caused.”

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed the costs of a PFI project at the hospital have more than doubled.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, signed the 38-year contract in 2004 for £976m to fund modernisation work.

The cost of paying back capital and other costs is now estimated at £738m.

Last month Tracy Doucet, the chair of the trust, stepped down following a letter from independent health regulator group Monitor which raised serious concerns over the financial and management issues facing the hospital.

The group also ordered an inquiry into patient care at the hospital when it emerged nearly 80 breast cancer patients were being recalled after being given inaccurate test results.

In February Jason Ketley, 42, was reported to have been savaged by a rat at a specialist care unit in Surrey.

The attack was alleged to have happened at St Ebba's in Epsom. Mr Ketley, who suffers from learning difficulties, was spotted by staff stumbling around a corridor with the rodent hanging from his neck by its teeth.

Nurses knocked it off and killed it and he was later treated at an accident and emergency unit.

Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, described the incident as “genuinely shocking” and said it was taking the report very seriously.

However, hospital officials later claimed the animal was a field mouse driven inside by nearby housing development.

In April a survey of 40 hospital trusts revealed that pest controllers were called hundreds of times a year to deal with infestations of vermin including rats, mice, cockroaches and fleas in hospitals.

It found rats in a palliative care ward and an incident of mice in a children’s nursery. Other hospitals reported problems with squirrels, foxes and birds.

The National Health Service has reduced cases of MRSA and C.difficile following a nationwide campaign however other infections are on the increase.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links