1. ITV Report

Hospital calls in pest control to clear out foxes

Bosses at Southmead Hospital in Bristol have called in pest controllers to help get rid of foxes from near the maternity unit.

Hospital bosses have called in pest controllers to get rid of foxes near a maternity unit. Credit: ITV News West Country

They want to stop the mammals from climbing through open windows and possibly harming newborn babies.

Recently foxes have made a home for themselves in the hospital grounds. The North Bristol NHS Trust say that they must prioritise the safety of babies.

The Trust said the move was a "last resort" and urged locals to stop feeding the foxes.

"Foxes have lived peacefully on the site for a number of years. However, recently we have had more sightings of foxes particularly around our Maternity unit.

We contacted pest control because we are particularly concerned about one of the foxes who looks like it may be unwell. The fox has become bolder in behaviour and is being sighted more regularly in public areas.

We are also concerned that at this time of the year with many of the unit’s windows open there is a potential risk of foxes entering the building."

– Director of facilities at North Bristol NHS Trust, Simon Wood
A general image of foxes. Credit: PA

But the move has angered animal lovers on social media, who are demanding the foxes are removed but not killed.

However, the Trust say they have taken the animals' welfare seriously.

We recognise that many people are concerned for the welfare of the foxes; however as a hospital our priority has to be the safety of our patients.

So far we have contacted some alternative animal welfare organisations and we are pausing all existing activity while we consider their recommendations. We have also taken advice from them on how to deter foxes in future; one of their suggestions is that people on site do not feed the foxes.

– Director of facilities at North Bristol NHS Trust, Simon Wood
The Trust is planning on taking advice from wildlife sanctuaries and charities. Credit: ITV News West Country