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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

It Costs That Much (AKA: You get what you pay for)

Buckle up folks, I’ve got a great one for you this week: someone had to pay for pest control services!


Oh, the horror!


Let’s break this down.

 

1. The £60,000 (roughly equivalent to $75,000 US) was for two locations (possibly more) since 2021. So let’s say the report is looking at spend for three years (2021, 2022, 2023). First, we split the 60K for the two locations (£30,000 each), then divide by the three years. Each location spent £10,000 per year on pest control services. Roughly $12,500. Per month, that’s £833/$1,000.


2. Then there is the size of these locations.

  • According to the NHS website, the Scarborough location is their biggest hospital and judging by their map has multiple buildings. Conservatively it’s covering 748,000 ft2 (249,000 m2). For reference, that’s the size of 4 football fields.

  • The York location is the second biggest and let’s say it’s conservatively 96,000 ft2. (290,000 m2). For reference, it’s the size of just less than two football fields.

  • Those are both relatively large footprints to cover when doing pest control services compared to a home or a fast food restaurant.

  • These hospitals have operative rooms, pharmacies, kitchens, cafes, mortuaries, and other departments. Not to mention all the doors, delivery entrances, and outdoor conducive conditions to monitor.


3. Factor in all the pest control devices now. It’s one thing to walk a specific length and another to stop ever so often to check a bait station or snap trap, ILT, glue board, etc. Not only do you have to check those, they often need to be cleaned and they need to be counted, documented, and reset. Any pesticide applications take time and those need to be documented too. For roughly $1000 per month, that’s between 5-10 hours of a technician being there and servicing the account. I will assume they are getting twice a month service and that comes to 2-5 hours each time they are there.


4. “Last year 56 pests were reported” from both sites. Do you know how to ensure pests will never enter a building? Seal up all the doors, windows, and other openings, don’t let anyone enter or exit, accept no deliveries or outgoing shipments, and eliminate every piece of food. No site will ever be completely pest free at all times. Pests will find openings, they can get delivered in, and good food smells attract them. Honestly, it shocks me that there were only 56 pests considering the sizes of the sites.

  • Eight reports of silverfish. I bet those were in basement areas where it’s a bit damp or in old storage rooms.

  • Four reports of rats. Both locations are in urban areas. Urban areas have rats and rats are geniuses at getting in to find food and safety.

  • Fourteen reports of ants. Ants form large colonies and forages will go out looking. Finding these few ants means there is not a large colony inside or even very near, it’s just a couple of intrepid explorers.

  • One report of flying ants. See above, ants swarm when colonies get big. One single winged ant is not indicative of an infestation.

  • One report of cockroaches. Considering the restaurants and kitchens in a hospital, this is astoundingly small.

  • One report on mice. See the above comment on rats.


5. “This report demonstrates, outsourced facilities management companies are failing to keep our hospitals safe.” If I looked hard enough, I’m sure I could find 56 pests a year in someone’s house! And, what safety issues occurred because of these pests? Did they find an uptick in infections? Were operating rooms and other patient areas shut down causing increased emergency visits to other healthcare facilities? Did people break their leg because they tripped over a rat? There’s no evidence of correlation so definitely no reason to think of causation.

 

Bottom line, I would argue they should be paying more, but then I would have to argue the program isn't doing a good enough job and they are! Breaking down the cost you are looking at a few hundred dollars/pounds per month on some relatively large properties and there were very few pests. The fact that they didn’t have more indicates that as soon as something did occur, they were on it and inspecting, noting conducive conditions, and applying corrective actions.


If they want to do that program in-house instead of having a reputable pest management company that is trained, experienced, and backed by support staff…. Good luck.

 

Imagine what you could get for around $800 a month... You could have your very own fractional entomologist on call to refute these claims from people like Rachael Maskell, York Central Labour MP.


Lagniappe - it's not free.



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