Emergency measures as mice plague hospital

Astley Ainslie Hospital has had problems with mice. Picture: Montage
Astley Ainslie Hospital has had problems with mice. Picture: Montage
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EMERGENCY measures have been ordered after complaints a hospital has been overrun with mice.

The pests have been spotted scampering all over Astley Ainslie Hospital, prompting health chiefs to order action.

They have called in pest controllers and are fitting special doors to stop the scuttling vermin getting in.

One patient said: “The ones I’ve seen are bold as brass. They don’t seem the least bit bothered about the presence of people.”

Patients and visitors to the building, which specialises in post acute care and rehabilitation services for patients with conditions such as stroke, cardiac disease and brain injury, have complained that the problem seems to be getting worse.

One stroke patient, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’ve been seeing them since the first day I arrived about two weeks ago. There’s loads of them at night. It’s quite distressing for patients and their visitors, and the staff don’t like it either. It’s a shame because everything else about the hospital is great – the staff are absolutely fantastic – but they seem to be really struggling to contain this. Pest control have been in but the mice just seem to come back.”

Another person, whose close family member has been recovering from a stroke in the facility for the past three weeks, agreed that the unwelcome visitors do seem to be more active at night.

They said: “We were actually warned by the staff and other patients about the mice when we arrived. I’m not generally able to visit during the day, but another member of my family has said that they’re seeing them more often in the mornings and afternoons. When I visit in the evening they seem to be absolutely rife. It’s like they know it’s feeding time.

“At first you could just stamp your feet and they would scuttle away. But, as time goes on, they seem to be getting less and less afraid.

“They’ve had pest control in putting down traps, but after one or two get caught that way the rest of the mice know to avoid them.”

George Curley, director of operations, facilities at NHS Lothian, said it was hoped that new doors at the rear of the facility would stem the furry flow of vermin.

He said: “Pest control services were called last week following sightings of mice near to the rear of the Charles Bell Pavilion building.

“Many of our buildings are in rural areas which are the natural habitat of rodents and insects and we have strict measures in place to control and eradicate any rodent problems as and when they arise.

“Plans are in place to install automatic doors at the rear of the Charles Bell Pavilion which should help alleviate that entry point.

“Pest control experts will continue to visit the site until the issue has been resolved.”

In from the cold

MICE are most likely to infest a building at the end of the summer, as temperatures take a turn for the worse.

Buildings in rural areas can be especially vulnerable, as anything disturbing a rodent’s habitat – for example, fields being ploughed – can scare them indoors.

People leaving food outside, either to feed stray animals or by not disposing of waste properly, can attract vermin.

Older buildings are also more likely to be infested than modern buildings, which have fewer possible points of entry.