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Cockroach 'explosion' at Queen Mary's Hospital posed major health risk
A COCKROACH "explosion" at Queen Mary’s Hospital posed a major health risk to patients, it has emerged.
Piles of egg cases and a large grease deposit near the kitchens prompted a Bexley Council inspection team to consider closing the area after visiting on November 5.
Grim pictures just released show live cockroaches crawling across the wall and ceiling along with mouse droppings littering a shelf.
Rooms adjoining the kitchen were not being cleaned and contained cockroach carcasses and droppings.
Rich pickings for a cockroach trap set by food safety inspectors.
A report issued by the council on March 18 said poor food safety management combined with the infestation gave "serious cause for concern."
It said: "The poor cleaning of the under croft combined with ineffective treatments has resulted in a population explosion of cockroaches.
"At the time of the inspection there was a serious cockroach infestation that posed an imminent risk to health.
"The infestation coupled with inadequate proofing between the under croft and catering areas, resulted in cockroach activity in the catering areas that was evident from both their presence on monitor traps and the sighting of a free running adult."
The infestation was described as a "population explosion".
The inspectors demanded an immediate and thorough deep clean and disinfection of the area, branding attempts to deal with the hygiene problems over summer 2012 "ineffective".
Daily revisits were carried out on each of the four days following the first inspection and a pest control company called in.
The report pointed to a "significant short-term improvement" on the site where dirty wiping cloths were once found to have been used to mop up spillages.
Dirt and litter was also found under staff lockers and the pipe work in ovens and cupboards in a fat fryer found to be filthy despite a reported "deep clean" by contractors three weeks before the inspection.
Oxleas Foundation Trust took over the running of Queen Mary’s on October 1 after the previous operator South London Healthcare Trust was dissolved facing massive debts.
Rubbish and dirt underneath staff lockers.
A spokesman said: "We became aware of the problems identified at the canteen in November last year while carrying out our due diligence assessments prior to taking over the hospital.
"We also noted the environment health officer reported he was 'very impressed with the improvements which have been made and maintained’ when he carried out a repeat inspection in May 2013.
"We take food hygiene very seriously."
Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett said he was "appalled and concerned" at the inspection findings.
He added: "NHS Trusts have a duty to ensure their services and facilities are safe and clean for patients.
"I look forward to Oxleas NHS Trust, who have recently taken over the site, taking action to prevent this situation from occurring again."
A deposit of fat/grease on the floor of the under croft.
James Cleverly, London Assembly Member for Bexley and Bromley, slammed the "poor standards" at the hospital as "just not good enough", but praised Bexley Council’s response.
He said: "It is so important that when breaches are discovered in hospitals we have the infrastructure in place to correct it quickly in the interests of patient safety."
Old Bexley and Sidcup MP Jamesz Brokenshire said: "This incident is shocking and completely unacceptable.
Mouse droppings on a shelf.
"Whilst this occurred nearly a year ago, it is essential that we have confidence that hygiene and environmental health standards are prioritised throughout the hospital.
"Queen Mary's is now under new NHS ownership and I am taking this issue up with the new management to seek assurance on the maintenance of high hygiene standards."
Bexley Councillor Gareth Bacon, cabinet member for environment and public realm, added: "We were clearly very disappointed with the conditions found during last November's food hygiene inspection and pursued the matter rigorously with both the catering contractor and South London Health Care Trust.
David Evennett outside Queen Mary's.
"Food safety inspectors carried out daily visits to make sure the necessary urgent works were carried out to deal with the imminent risks to health and continued to work with both the catering contractor and the Trust to ensure additional remedial works were carried out.
"When the next routine food hygiene inspection was carried out in May this year I am pleased to say the significant improvement in conditions that had been obtained last November had been sustained and that as a result, a food hygiene rating score of 4, good, was awarded."
Have you been a patient at Queen Mary's in the last year? If so, what do your experiences of the food? Leave your comments below.
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