A hospital trust spent more than £180,000 on pest control over a three-year period, new figures have revealed.

Royal Free NHS Trust recorded 125 pest incidents over the past three years, according to data obtained by the Liberal Democrats after a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.

The trust, which runs the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead as well as others including Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital, spent £183,484 on pest control over the same period.

A Royal Free spokesperson said that pest controllers routinely carry out inspections of its sites to “anticipate and prevent any infestations” and that the trust always responds “promptly” to pest sightings.  

They added: “We take a vigilant approach to pest control and have recently implemented a number of preventive measures to reduce pests, including the use of netting at the Royal Free Hospital to stop pigeons nesting.”

Whittington Health NHS Trust, which also runs health services across north London, also responded to the FoI request.

It did not provide the cost of pest control at its sites, but said that it conducted a “proactive callout” every week.

A spokesperson for the trust added: “We are committed to maintaining the highest standards across all of our estate, which is why we take proactive measures to prevent pest issues arising and to respond to them quickly if they occur.”

From the 59 responses out of the 142 NHS hospital trusts in England obtained by the Liberal Democrats, more than 18,000 pest incidents were recorded.

The figures also show NHS bosses are having to spend millions of pounds calling out pest control and dealing with infestations, with £3.7m spent over this period.

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.”

A spokesperson for the Department Health and Social Care said that individual NHS organisations are legally responsible for maintaining their estates, including pest control.

They added that £4.2 billion have been invested this year to “upgrade and modernise NHS buildings”.