9 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Hospital’s spend £3million on pest control as patients suffer from rats and insects
  • Cameron and Trump: European leaders’ summit needed to seize frozen Russian assets
  • Cole-Hamilton: SNP have failed to help A&E recover
  • Lib Dems launch London Transport Policy – Blackie: “No more bus cuts”

Hospital’s spend £3million on pest control as patients suffer from rats and insects

  • Staff report being bitten by bugs as rats roam maternity and emergency wards
  • Freedom of Information requests reveal NHS Hospitals coping with 18,000 pest incidents since 2021
  • Liberal Democrat Leader demands urgent repair fund for crumbling hospitals

Freedom of Information Requests by the Liberal Democrats have revealed the extent of pests roaming NHS Hospitals. As the NHS repair backlog reaches record levels, these new revelations show staff and patients subjected to poor conditions.

Since 2021, over 60 NHS Trusts have reported £3.7 million spent on pest control at their hospitals. Imperial College NHS Trust, which includes St.Mary’s Hospital London, spent a staggering £383,597 on pest control, including dealing with 748 pest incidents last year alone.

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust spent £119,199 to deal with mice in the kitchen, maggots in the mortuary and rat droppings in a corpse bag, amongst many other pests.

The most shocking incidents were reported by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust, which includes Colchester Hospital and Ipswich Hospital. Staff reported:

  • Black insects are biting the legs of staff
  • Ants and fly infestations
  • Rats in the ambulance area

At Ashford NHS Trust, dead headless pigeons and dead rabbits, as well as slug and ants were reported. Royal United Hospitals Bath reported pests in the children’s ward and breast clinic.

Princess Alexandra Trust, which forked out over £270,000 on pest control since 2021, reported pests found in children’s ward, staff accommodation, breast clinic and various wards. Other pests at NHS Hospitals include bed bugs in wards, human lice, cockroaches, silverfish and wasps.

Overall, there has been a rise in pests reported at hospitals, from 5,292 in 2021/2022 to 6,666 2023/2024.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding an urgent fund to improve hospital safety, after recent figures showed the NHS repair fund is now a record £12bn. A Freedom of Information investigation by the party last year revealed hundreds of sewage leaks pouring into hospital wards, showing again how the NHS is struggling to cope with rising repair bills.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

These are shocking revelations and another sign our hospitals are no longer up to scratch for sick patients and hardworking staff.

In people’s hour of need, they need to be safe from bugs and rodents. Instead, wards are falling apart at the seams with foul pests allowed to roam freely. This is a national scandal.

Conservative Ministers must act now by bringing forward emergency funds for crumbling and unhygienic hospitals

This Conservative government has left the NHS in decay with soaring repair bills. This madness has to end. It is time the NHS was put first, starting with making hospitals a safe and clean place again. Conservative Ministers can not hide any longer from the state of the NHS.

Cameron and Trump: European leaders’ summit needed to seize frozen Russian assets

Following David Cameron’s visit to former US President Donald Trump overnight, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called on Cameron to organise a European leaders’ summit on support for Ukraine, including through the seizure of frozen Russian assets.

Ed Davey also warned that a second Donald Trump presidency risks having a “devastating” effect on European security.

It comes after David Cameron met with Donald Trump in a bid to unblock a package of US aid for Ukraine being held up by US Congress.

Ed Davey, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, commented:

If the US cannot, Europe must.

The West is divided. The spectre of a second Trump presidency has Putin rubbing his hands. We only have one option: to stand with our Ukrainian allies, as they seek to bravely resist Russia’s illegal invasion.

The UK must now show leadership and convene a summit of European leaders, to kick start seizing Russian assets for the good of Ukraine.

Cole-Hamilton: SNP have failed to help A&E recover

Responding to new figures showing only 62.7% of people attending A&E were seen within the 4 hour target in the week ending 31st March, while 3,455 people waited over 8 hours and 1,447 waited over 12 hours, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

It has been years now since our A&E departments have seen anything approaching the levels they should be operating at.

With thousands facing long waits every week it is clear the SNP have failed to help A&E recover.

Patients and staff alike deserve better than this, so we urgently need to see meaningful action taken to reverse this situation.

Scottish Liberal Democrats would overhaul the NHS Recovery Plan, bring forward an urgent inquiry into the hundreds of avoidable deaths linked to the emergency care crisis and implement measures which will meaningfully tackle burnout among staff.

Lib Dems launch London Transport Policy – Blackie: “No more bus cuts”

Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate Rob Blackie pledged to end Sadiq Khan’s bus cuts as he launched his transport policy today.

Blackie outlined measures to restore reliability and frequency to the capital’s commuters, while allowing new lines and services to be added.

Blackie launched his transport policy at a stop on the 450 bus route in Crystal Palace to illustrate how local campaigners were fighting cuts to such vital links. He was joined by the leader of Croydon Lib Dems, Councillor Claire Bonham, who has headed a local campaign against cuts to the 450 route.

He also criticised the deterioration of London’s transport network under Sadiq Khan, citing:

  • Bus services cut by 22 million miles
  • Millions of pounds in lost fares from the Elizabeth Line opening late
  • Up to £1 billion lost from public transport due to Khan’s phoney fares freeze gimmicks

In contrast, he pledged:

  • An end to bus cuts
  • A new vision for Outer London transport
  • Improved tube maintenance and accessibility

Blackie said he would deliver this by facilitating a long-term funding settlement with national government and securing fair wages for transportation workers to end the long-running strikes.

His financial strategy would prioritise funding stability, increase borrowing capacity and provide new tube and train lines, particularly in Outer London, he said.
Under Khan’s management, Blackie said that Transport for London had suffered substantial financial setbacks, including £640 million lost from the 2016 fares freeze, in addition to up to £400m from his current fares freeze if he carries it on beyond election year, and millions in revenue losses due to the delayed opening of the Elizabeth Line.

Rob Blackie said:

London should have the greatest transport system in the world, but for too many it has become unreliable.

After eight years with Sadiq Khan in charge, bus services have been cut, tubes are breaking down more, and there’s no hope for the extensions to the network that he promised.

As Liberal Democrat Mayor, I will get London moving again. I will bring an end to bus cuts, and focus on investment in new tube, train and tram lines Outer London.

I will earn a long-term funding settlement with the government by prioritising financial stability at Transport for London and ditching costly election gimmicks. That will mean more investment in maintenance for reliability and accessibility too.

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This entry was posted in London, News, Press releases and Scotland.


  • Is this all we’ve come up with for transport in London? Where are the specifics or the credible funding ideas?

    Promising more funding from the Government is fanciful: If Sadiq Khan can’t persuade the Tory Government to give more money, why would Rob Blackie be able to persuade them? We could get some money by ending the fares freeze, but Blackie has already committed to use that to pay for policing improvements. Extending/reforming the congestion zone would be controversial but would work – generating income AND easing congestion, making buses cheaper to run!

    So many useful things could be done cheaply: Consult on how to make cycling more attractive to women/minorities, integrate bus and rail fares, pedestrianize Oxford Street, simplify the zonal fares system, publicity to encourage people not to drive, talk to the rail TOCs about integrating NR and TfL fares. Why not mention some of those? Instead all we get is a vague ‘vision for Outer London transport’ and ‘more underground lines’ (where? which ones?) which sounds rather like ‘Haven’t yet thought of anything specific’. And what do we say we’re doing about ULEZ?

    Also, I know it’s customary to slag off everything your opponents do and never mention their successes, but Sadiq Khan deserves some credit for the new Superloop bus routes, which I gather are proving very successful. We could commit to building on that with more express routes.

    Surely we can do better on transport than the vague words reported in this article?

  • Since I wrote the above comment, the LibDem manifesto for London has been published (https://www.londonlibdems.org.uk/robblackie/our-manifesto) so to be fair I should point out that it does address some of my previous complaints. In particular, it does mention expanding the Superloop bus network, pedestrianizing Oxford Street, and keeping Ulez but improving the scrappage scheme, as well as offering a number of other specific pledges. I particularly like the suggestion of an innovation competition on eliminating tube noise. I’m a bit dubious about some of the other policies, and note that there’s still no credible way offered to fund any of the commitments (The only funding suggestion – ‘a responsible approach to Transport for London’s finances’ – is basically just vague fluffiness). But overall, considering we are a small party and realistically we’re not going to win the London Mayoral election and so have to put the manifesto into practice, I’m actually quite impressed that we have produced such a detailed and well presented document.

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