Rats, free flowing sewage and hardware problems have plagued the NHS in the last 12 months, with new figures revealing that Lewisham and Greenwich hospitals had the most incidents leading to delays in the country.

Carried out by MyJobQuote, they say the investigation "unearths the shocking state of the NHS" with a staggering 1,238 reported 'clinical service incidents' in the past year causing delays to treatments and procedures.

The company sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to 157 acute NHS trusts in England, seeking their count and status of clinical service incidents, which is when an estate or infrastructure failure causes clinical services to be delayed or cancelled.

Across the country, incidents affecting hospital services ranged from uncontrollable rat infestations, to floods of sewage, to patients being served raw potatoes for their evening meals.

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A spokesperson from MyJobQuote said that with NHS staff working incredibly hard, the data was a clear sign that the health service is in dire need of more money to support basic infrastructural requirements.

Top of the list of trusts who responded was south east London's Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust (LGT), recording 325 clinical service incidents in the last year, almost one a day.

This is 65 incidents more than the trust with the second highest number of incidents, and five times higher than the trust in fourth place.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “In responding to this FOI request for data, we included details of all incidents over the timeframe that resulted in a delay for our clinicians, no matter how minor.

"However, we do know from benchmarking data that, on average, we do not experience significantly more incidents than other Trusts in London.”

LGT, which runs Queen Elizabeth and Lewisham hospitals, did not have any recorded sewage issues, pest control or hygiene incidents however.

The most common problem causing delays to clinical services was IT Telecommunications Overload/Failure, happening 105 times in the year.

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The trust also recorded six power outages, six cases of inadequate maintenance and a number of other types of incidents, listed below.Other recorded problems included computer software (25), failing equipment (4), inadequate work environment (27), unsafe patient environment (42) and unsafe clinical environment (25).

Whilst Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust had the highest number of incidents, a number of other trusts reported concerning issues.

Nearby, Croydon Health Service had to cancel 18 patient clinics for gastroenterology because they weren't enough working toilets.

Hampshire Hospitals also had to suspend services because of an uncontrollable level of rat infestation.

The Latest ERIC figures reveal the cost of eradicating NHS backlog maintenance has risen by 63.64% to £9 Billion, up from £5.5 Billion in 2016/17.

Speaking about the findings, Jonathan Grieve from MyJobQuote.co.uk said, “These are difficult times and there is no doubt that NHS staff members are working hard to provide necessary services to all patients.

"When we see figures like these it is plain to see that the NHS is in dire need of more money to support basic infrastructural requirements. By investing in the NHS now, it will enable staff to care for patients to a much higher standard.

“Providing quality patient care has to remain a top priority. The NHS has faced exceptional challenges over the past year, this is why it is so important to shine a light on these issues now, so they can be prevented in the future.”


Full list of clinical service incidents at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust in 2019-20:

Infrastructure (Staffing, Facilities, IT Systems) 325

Computer Software/hardware Problems 25

Equipment - Failure Of Device/equipment 4

Equipment- User Error/training Issues 1

Failure/delay In Collection/delivery Systems 10

Inadequate Facilities Work Environment 27

Inadequate Maintenance 21

Inadequate Plant/equipment 14

Inadequate Policy/procedure/work Instruction 1

Infrastructure Other 43

IT Telecommunications Failure/overload 105

Power Outage 6

Transport - Delay/failure To Transfer (Into /out O 1

Unsafe Environment(Light, Temp,noise,air Qual 42

Unsafe/inappropriate Clinical Environment 25

Grand Total 325

The Top 5 NHS Trusts with the Most Clinical Service Incidents are:

NHS Trust Number of Service Incidents

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust 325

Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust 260

Whittington Health NHS Trust 157

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 65

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust 49

Type of Incident (UK) and Count of Incidents

Total Incident Reports 1238

General Infrastructure Failure 344

Power and/or Heating Failures including Overheating 194

Technical Issues 173

Machine Failure 113

Fire and False Alarms 85

Sewage and Water Damage 59

Lack of equipment 46

Hygiene 42

Pest Control 28

Delays 15

Food Production /delivery 9