Cockroaches and mice infest psychiatric hospital kitchens

Kitchens at a psychiatric hospital are infested with cockroaches and mice, inspectors have found.

Environmental health officers found food preparation areas at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in “a state of disrepair” during a visit last month.

The inspectors reported 21 contraventions of hygiene guidelines, including evidence of poor pest control procedure, leading to mice being found in the staff kitchen. Vermin were also discovered in service corridors, while pest control experts expressed concern over the alarming presence of cockroaches in the building in Morningside.

The hospital, which has around 340 beds, cares for some of the most vulnerable mentally ill patients from across the Lothians.

The official report details a catalogue of food and general hygiene contraventions, including walls with flaking paint and filthy drainage and ventilation systems.

Bosses at the hospital have been told to fix missing and broken tiles in the main kitchen, while a “build-up of dirt and debris” was highlighted in the dry goods store.

In another preparation area, skirting under a bench was reportedly in such a poor state it could not be properly cleaned, while floor drains were said to be in dire need of repair.

Inspectors highlighted an “accumulation of waste material and obsolete equipment” in a corridor.

Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “It is clear that an immediate deep clean of the kitchens is required and I have written to NHS Lothian to seek reassurance that another inspection will be carried out on the kitchens at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland said food hygiene issues were not raised on inspectors’ previous visit to the hospital in April.

George Curley, director of facilities at NHS Lothian, said: “We strive to maintain our buildings and services to the highest standards possible and have robust control measures in place for this. We also work with an accredited pest control company to minimise the risk of pest infestation and this includes a comprehensive programme of regular inspection and treatment.

“Catering facilities at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital are in one of the older buildings on the site, which makes it a more challenging environment to maintain.”