Relatives frustrated as Queen’s Hospital battles bedbug infestation

Queen's Hospital in Romford

Bedbugs were discovered in one bay in Queen's Hospital after having come in on a patient's belongings. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

A Queen's Hospital bay has been "closed" for at least a week while an alleged bedbug infestation is eradicated.

Relatives of two patients at the hospital told this newspaper that there has been an outbreak of bedbugs in one of its four-bed bays on Amber B ward.

The hospital says as soon as the bugs were discovered - a "highly unusual occurrence" - the bay was isolated and treated by pest control.

A husband, who wishes to remain anonymous, said when trying to visit his wife, who has been in Amber B ward for over seven days, he was told that the bay was shut to visitors.   

He claimed that before the bay was closed, a patient on his wife's ward who has spent a week in hospital was allowed a single visit once a week. This compares to a nearby ward which, he alleges, allowed a single visitor each day a week after a patient is admitted.

He said: “I appreciate that we owe the medical profession a huge debt as a nation but it is just not right for them to keep relatives away for so long.” 

The chief medical officer at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which runs Queen's Hospital, Magda Smith, said: “When bedbugs were discovered in one bay on the ward in June, having come in on a patient's belongings, the bay was immediately isolated and treated by pest control."  

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A son of a patient currently at Queen’s said he was informed on June 18 that the bay was closed to visitors with “immediate effect”. 

He said during a meeting on June 29 to discuss his mother's health, he was informed that the bay was still closed due to bedbugs.  

Ms Smith said: “This is a highly unusual occurrence and we have found no evidence that they have spread.  

“The four-bedded bay has remained closed while we continue to monitor the area, ensuring the treatment has controlled the entire lifecycle of these bed bugs." 

Queen’s Hospital has confirmed that all patients who were staying in the same bay were “informed and instructed” on how to clean their clothes and personal items. 

The ward will remain closed until it is confirmed that the threat of bedbugs is eradicated, she said.