Luton and Dunstable Hospital takes steps after bedbugs found in emergency department

The hospital Trust denied claims there is an infestation
Bedbug bites, and a trap in the hospital. Picture: SubmittedBedbug bites, and a trap in the hospital. Picture: Submitted
Bedbug bites, and a trap in the hospital. Picture: Submitted

Luton and Dunstable Hospital has said it is taking steps after bedbugs were found in the accident and emergency department.

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says the issue started on March 11 – but denied claims that there was an infestation, stating that only two juvenile bedbugs were spotted last month.

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A spokesperson for the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have found two bedbugs in the Emergency Department at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, one at a staff base in the department and another in a non-clinical area.

“As soon as the first sighting was reported the Trust contacted a specialist pest control and cleaning company who laid down detectors and traps to stop the spread. We have followed the advice of these specialists on the appropriate treatment throughout and acted quickly on their advice.”

It also denied claims that staff members had been told not to tell patients about the bugs.

A hospital source contacted the Luton News to say some workers were bitten by the insects, which the Trust says poses no clinical risk.

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They said: “Staff are really, really unhappy. They’re [management] telling staff: ‘Do not tell any patients’ because obviously it's in the emergency department. Patients should have a right to know. The L&D senior management, executive level, have said this has to be kept confidential.

"Enough is enough. Staff are really upset over all of this and the Trust is not taking this seriously.”

But the Trust said it had not issued a directive for staff not to tell patients. The spokesperson added: “There has been regular communication with our staff working in the department about the situation, steps being taken and guidance on how to manage clothing and uniforms.

“While their bites can be itchy and cause irritation, bedbugs pose no clinical risk to patients or staff.”

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The Care Quality Commission said: “We are aware of the issue and have followed up with the trust to understand what measures they have in place to ensure the premises are clean, that infection prevention and pest control are prioritised, and that people’s needs are being met.

"We are checking that every action possible is being taken to identify and mitigate any safety risks and ensure people’s welfare and safety - in line with national guidance.”