Heatherwood and Wexham Park Foundation Trust’s public relations people got in touch today to inform us that the trust “takes the issue of pest control very seriously”. 

Fantastic! Because so many other trusts treat pestilence as a great big giggle.

“Any large organisation, including hospitals, will experience infestations on occasions, and, like every responsible organisation across the country, this trust takes an extremely active approach to pest control.”

A quick Google news search for Heatherwood and Wexham Park revealed the trust has been so “active” that it appears to have been going out of its way to attract pests.

How else to explain reports on the Get Bracknell website that food had been left outside the hospital kitchen for the local feral cat population?

Strangely enough, the free grub ended up attracting rats. A Freedom of Information request found that “pest controllers were called out 52 times to the Slough hospital and 17 times to Heatherwood Hospital in 2012”. Rats, mice, ants and cockroaches, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, thanks to the Heatherwood communications people for drawing our attention to the issue - never let it be said that the PR function exists to divert attention away from bad news or stop a trust looking stupid.

Keen to ensure no one could interpret any of this as bad news, the trust’s PR statement explained its extensive pest control policy.

“We take further precautions, such as a policy of no feeding of birds in our garden areas, to ensure we tackle the issue from every possible angle.”

Disappointingly they didn’t attempt to argue that attracting feral cats was good for keeping the numbers of birds down.