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We’re fixing it! - Health department says it is taking steps to address rat infestation at hospital

Published:Saturday | July 13, 2019 | 12:17 AM

The St Catherine Health Department said it has identified the source of the rat infestation at the Spanish Town Hospital and has taken steps to eliminate the problem.

Speaking at the monthly general meeting of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation on Thursday, chief public health officer for the parish, Grayson Hutchinson, said that the management at the hospital had heeded the recommendations of the department and that the problem would be brought under control soon.

“The hospital has employed a licensed pest-control agency, which did an assessment of the facility and has established bay stations across the compound – mainly on the wards that were identified, in bathroom corridors, and in areas where it was reported that rats were seen,” Hutchinson disclosed.

He said that 83 bay stations have been set up and are being monitored, trees on the compound that had facilitated the presence of roof rats have been cut down, external openings have been sealed off, doors have been affixed with self-closing devices, and old furniture and appliances stored in some areas have been removed.


“Patients and staff on Ward 3, where it was reported that rats were seen, have been relocated and the area extensively treated,” the chief public health inspector reported.

But even with these measures outlined, chairman of the municipal corporation, Norman Scott, was still not satisfied. He accused the Ministry of Health and Wellness of not doing enough to protect the patients and staff at the hospital from possible diseases borne by these rats.

“The Spanish Town Hospital is a premiere institution, and this situation should never have existed there. In fact, we are seeing an increase in rat infestation in other sections of the town, especially on Wellington Street, so I don’t think enough is being done to tackle the problem,” Scott said.

This comment by the chairman drew the ire of opposition councillors Hawthone Thompson of the Sydenham division and Kenisha Gordon of the Spanish Town division. Thompson interrupted on a point of order, claiming that Scott was misleading the public by giving the impression that the Government was at fault for the increase in the rat population, to which Scott responded that he was not prepared to accept any grandstanding from the councillor.

Gordon questioned the chairman on his source of information about the claim that other parts of the town were rat-infested.

“My eyes are the source of information,” was Scott’s reply.