A PRIVATE Bournemouth hospital has been given a clean bill of health after claims of an alleged rodent and water problem.

After claims were made in an anonymous letter, alleging 'rats in the ceiling' above the kitchen in the Nuffield Health Hospital in Lansdowne Road, as well as legionella in parts of the water system, Andrew Hill, Senior Environmental Health Officer Bournemouth Borough Council made the following statement.

He said: "Our Food Safety team carried out an inspection today. We evaluated their food safety systems, provisions for managing pests and inspected the staff canteen area and kitchen.

"The facilities manager has taken a proactive approach in managing suspected rodent activity by working closely with the building facilities team and an external pest control company to ensure that any suspected rodent activity is immediately treated.

"We have found no evidence of rodent activity and have no concerns regarding the contamination of food contact surfaces, or foods.’’

Public Health England confirmed it had received no reports of legionella - which can cause respiratory illness- at the building.

The letter received by the hospital claimed to be from a staff member.

Hospital director David McNair said:“We received an unannounced visit from the Senior Environment Health Officer at Bournemouth Borough Council who found no evidence of rodent activity and had no concerns regarding the contamination of food contact surfaces, or foods.”

“Our staff and patients are our number one priority and we have an ongoing programme of maintenance for all our buildings to ensure that people’s health and safety is never compromised.

“The hospital took swift, appropriate action to address a potential pest problem and we can confirm that vermin have not been seen on the premises.

“We professionally test water quality regularly with routine planned maintenance, address any issues, and no patients or staff have been impacted by water issues.” In June 2016 the hospital was issued with a Warning Notice ordering it to take urgent action to improve working practises in the operating theatres. At the time the Care Quality Commission said: "Infection control staff did not adhere to policies and procedures to control and prevent infection control risks."

It said the operating theatre environment was in a 'poor state of repair with peeling paints, broken tiles and loose skirting', and the air circulation system was faulty.

A subsequent inspection in November 2016 found that the hospital had taken sufficient steps to improve the service. However, because of its ratings during this visit, it remains a hospital registered with the CQC as requiring improvement.