VISITING restrictions have been lifted at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital after insects were seen on wards.

On April 30 visiting restrictions were put in place at the hospital to allow for additional cleaning work across a number of wards.

Visiting was only allowed on compassionate grounds and needed to be agreed upon with ward staff in advance.

These restrictions have been lifted today (Wednesday, May 3) and visiting arrangements have returned to normal.

However, the reason behind the additional cleaning has now been revealed.

A number of insects, which have been confirmed as booklice, were seen on a small number of wards.

According to the British Pest Control Association, booklice are common household pests that are always associated with damp and feed on mould.

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We were concerned about the distress that the presence of insects might cause for our patients and our staff so we took a series of immediate actions including a thorough clean of the affected areas, with additional support from specialist external contractors and advice from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

“Before receiving confirmation that they were Booklice, we were also aware of the possibility that the insects may have been Bedbugs, which do bite and whose bites can cause itching and discomfort.

“That additional concern prompted us to put in place extra precautions to protect patients and staff, including restricting the movement of staff around the site and restricting visiting to the Alexandra to compassionate visiting only.

"I am pleased to say that those visiting restrictions have now been lifted.

“I would like to thank our patients and their families for their understanding and co-operation as well as thanking all our teams who have supported our response to this incident.”