A North East hospital trust has paid pest control nearly £100,000 in three years on preventative and active pest control after they received complaints about mice, ants and a rat in "maternity".

The figures, obtained through a freedom of information request by the Liberal Democrats, reveal North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust spent a total of £94,781 on pest control from 2021 to 2023.

The trust, which manages the University Hospital of North Tees, the University Hospital of Hartlepool and Peterlee Community Hospital utilised pest control to deal with everything from ants in laundry to a rat in acute services and another in maternity.

The area where the rat was spotted has only been listed as "maternity", and no further details on its exact location either inside or outside of the ward have been disclosed.

A total of 96 complaints were made about pests over three years.

At South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a total of £21,198 has been spent on pest control in the same period across James Cook University Hospital, Friarage Hospital in Northallerton and Redcar Primary Care Hospital.

Data released by the trust reveals that a total of 10 rats were sighted across trust buildings in 2023 alone, as well as 16 reports of silverfish and two complaints of maggots.

Altogether, this adds up to 574 complaints about pests made to the trust across three years - which has increased year on year.

In a joint statement, the trusts say their costs are justified given the scale and size of the buildings in their care and say they are "confident" that their work helps keep pests at bay.

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A spokesperson said: “We remain vigilant in monitoring pests and always respond swiftly to any reports with immediate action.

“The costs incurred, which include preventative measures, are consistent considering the locations and large size of our sites.

“We are confident our actions control pests as well as possible.”