Published: 14:42, 10 September 2019
| Updated: 14:51, 10 September 2019
Rats have been discovered at a hospital for the second time in two years, health bosses have confirmed.
She also says that, while she was visiting a relative, she overheard members of staff talking about a "rat problem" at the hospital.
“The rat was in one of the bays with patients in – I was horrified,” she said.
“It wasn’t overly large – it was a normal size. I’m assuming it was a drain or sewer rat.
"You don’t expect to go and visit someone and see things like that.
“I heard whisperings from staff about this. I couldn’t hear exactly what was said because I didn’t want to make it obvious that I was earwigging, but I could tell there is an issue.”
The ward – the only one at the hospital in King Edward Avenue – provides beds for as many as 20 inpatients who have been referred there from hospital or their GP surgery.
In the wake of Friday's sighting, the woman fears those staying at the Queen Victoria could be exposed to infections.
She added: “It’s a worry because of the hygiene aspect of it all and, from what I can tell, there are mainly older people in the ward.
“They’re clearly quite vulnerable and a lot of them are there for rehabilitation purposes.
“They have open wounds after having had operations, so there’s a risk of infection. It’s a big concern.”
Believing that members of staff had already been made aware of the rodents, the woman decided not to report the sighting.
A spokesman for NHS Property Services says it was recently informed rats had been spotted within the hospital’s grounds, prompting a survey of the building.
“We were recently made aware of sporadic rat activity within the grounds at Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital,” he said.
“As a result a full survey of the building including drainage system has taken place to ensure no risk to patients and services.
“We are working with our local NHS partners and our contractors to not only increase monitoring, but eliminate the risk of any activity within our demise with a variety of remedial actions.”
In June 2017, health bosses were forced to call in pest control after two rodents were spotted outside the Heron ward building.
Following the incident, an NHS spokesman told KentOnline it was believed that the issue had been resolved.