ALMOST half a million pounds has been spent on pest control at Glasgow's flagship super hospital campus since the new facility opened, we can reveal.

Pest controllers have been called in hundreds of times to tackle issues with rats, flies, cockroaches, silverfish, ants and pigeons at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus since the summer of 2015.

Scotland's largest health board - NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde - have paid contractors £448,879 to get rid of vermin at the site, which includes the new hospital, the Royal Hospital for Children, as well as a number of older buildings.

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The figure makes up more than half the total spend on pest control for the whole NHSGGC estate - which includes facilities in Paisley, Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and all over Glasgow.

According to information obtained through Freedom of Information legislation, contractors GP Environmental were called out to the campus 421 times since mid-2015.

The pest control firm made around 2,500 visits to all NHSGGC sites, including the QEUH campus, in the same time period at a cost of around £850,000.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said that while contractors tackle existing pests, they are also used to proactively look for potential infestations or prevent further ones from occurring.

Evening Times:

A spokesman said: "All sites across Greater Glasgow and Clyde operate a ‘pro-active service’ where they are routinely inspected for pest infestations. NHSGGC works closely with GP Environmental in a proactive pest preventative manner to preclude the establishment of intruding rodents and other pests within premises or grounds."

It comes after pigeon droppings were found in a plant room at the new hospital last year, which was suspected to have led to a fungal Cryptococcus infection in two patients.

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A 10-year-old boy who was receiving cancer treatment at the time died, with the fungus directly linked to his death.

According to GP Environmental's official reports to the health board, the firm was called in on December 6 to deal with pigeon droppings in a 12th floor plant room at the QEUH.

From December 7 until January 4, they cleaned 13 plant rooms as part of the plan to eliminate any pigeon mess.

On December 23, employees had to make an emergency visit to remove "debris and contaminated air handling filters" at the hospital

Over the next two months, they cleaned pigeon faeces from the site's plant rooms, helipad area and on the bridge linking the Institute of Neurosciences to the new building.

Most of their efforts between January 8 and March 10 were eradicating and repelling pigeons from cross the campus, by installing anti-bird spikes, netting and spreading biocide.

Images obtained by this newspaper show the extent of the mess cleaned up by the firm, with many areas heavily soiled with pigeon excrement.

Staff made 18 emergency calls to remove bird faeces or dead birds from various areas of the QEUH, including the Maternity building, courtyards, children's hospital,, MRI department and area around the Intensive Care unit.

They also shot pigeons in a service yard on January 8 and 15, and reported collecting 16 dead birds over two months.

A spokesman from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "We continuously and actively reviews pest prevention and control requirements through regular audits in all hospitals and premises. This integrated management approach significantly reduces pest issues through proactive and preventative systems. In addition to these preventative systems, if staff in a given area observe or suspect pest infection of any kind, a reactive service is provided immediately.

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We have a large numEmails show concerns from Glasgow NHS staff four years before QEUH inquiry launchedber of sites in a number of locations across our area. These sites are complex by nature and vary in age; consequently, their pest control needs vary. We cooperate fully with all interested parties such as Environmental Health.

"GP Environmental is given a briefing usually by an Estates Manager on what the issue is and they will survey/investigate and come back with recommendations to eliminate or reduce risk. This can include: increased proofing measures to prevent pest access, removal of mess and sanitisation of the area. Multiple visits maybe required depending on scale of problem.

Communication between the contractor and relevant site management is maintained after each visit to ensure that the highest standards of environmental cleanliness can be maintained and any corrective action taken.

"All sites across Greater Glasgow and Clyde operate a ‘pro-active service’ where they are routinely inspected for pest infestations. NHSGGC works closely with GP Environmental in a proactive pest preventative manner to preclude the establishment of intruding rodents and other pests within premises or grounds."