There have been a number of queries received by the Trust in
relation to the recently installed pigeon netting to the courtyards
at Darlington Memorial Hospital.
The welfare and safety of our patients and the
cleanliness of our hospitals are of fundamental importance to this
Trust and the care we provide.
This is being compromised by the continued presence of
nesting and roosting pigeons on and around the hospital
There is a public health risk associated with pigeon
guano (droppings) and the Trust is not prepared to jeopardise the
health of our patients. Cryptococcus is present in the
droppings; when these dry out and the guano becomes aerosolised
when disturbed, a systemic infection may occur if inhaled,
particularly by immunocompromised patients. This can prove
The control of pigeon guano in hospital premises is
therefore particularly important in disease prevention. The
courtyards where we are installing the nets front onto some of our
wards and departments which house some of our most vulnerable
Because of these risks, and because of the smell, staff
have been unable to open windows during the summer.
This work has therefore been undertaken to improve the
environmental and hygiene conditions for those wards and
departments which front onto the courtyards in question. The
extent of the pigeon guano on window sills, roofs, ledges and air
conditioning units and the relative inaccessibility to
regularly clean them was resulting in a most unattractive and
We have for the last 9 years tried to control this by
installing 'bird points' (ie spikes) on the window sills and
ledges. Unfortunately this has not worked and therefore the
installation of the netting is considered very much a last
The Trust is working within the law and has appointed a
specialist contractor , Rentokil, who are licensed to undertake
this work. The RSPCA have visited the site on two occasions and are
satisfied with the approach the Trust is taking.
It was not possible to completely clear the courtyard of
all pigeons before the net was installed. However, humane traps
which contain water and food, have been set to allow those
remaining to be caught.
Rentokil are visiting the site regularly to recover
pigeons from the traps, and to remove any which have become caught
in the netting.
Comments have also been received that a hawk has been
put into the courtyards to kill those remaining pigeons -
this is untrue.
I hope this allays any concerns people may have