BREEDING cockroaches and mice in the kitchen were among some of the food safety issues uncovered at University Hospital Lewisham.

Lewisham council’s environmental health team found issues of “great concern” including a lack of pest control, cleaning and structural upkeep during an inspection last October.

A report by the team said: “Some significant issues were raised which are cause for concern and also pose a risk of compromising food safety”.

German cockroaches were discovered near a dishwasher including a young “nymph” which suggested they were breeding, according to the report.

Mice were also found throughout the main kitchen and stores area.

The report called for a “significant need to review cleaning methods” after a “damning” high reading of bacteria was found on a surface used for raw meat preparation.

The “vague” approach to allergen control was also noted as an issue.

The hospital’s food hygiene “Scores on the Doors” rating was downgraded from four stars in March 2010 to three stars following the inspection.

In a follow-up inspection in December, a report noted “significant progress” with decreased pest activity, improved cleaning standards and “satisfactory” equipment refits.

A spokesman from Lewisham Hospital said: “After the Environmental Health report in October 2011 we took urgent action to deal with these issues, including carrying out further pest control proofing, arranging independent weekly inspections, and improving staff training and procedures.

“This work was commended by Environmental Health in December 2011, and they have given us a rating of ‘Good’ for food hygiene.

“To continue to improve services, a specialist company, Initial Facilities Healthcare (Initial), was appointed in February 2012 to further improve the quality of support services.

“They are carrying out a £0.5m upgrade of the kitchen facilities which will be completed in July 2012.”

The findings came to light following a Freedom of Information request sent to NHS hospitals across the country during an investigation by The Sun newspaper.