Forty operations have been cancelled at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust after rat droppings were found in an operating theatre.
It is believed rodents entered a theatre at King’s Mill Hospital, in Mansfield, when the room was not in use on the evening of 30 October.
Karen Tomlinson, director of operations at the trust, said: “We were extremely shocked to learn there was evidence of a rodent having entered a decommissioned operating theatre during the night, at a time when the department was not in use.
“As soon as we became aware of this fact the following morning, we immediately took steps to thoroughly clean and sterilise the entire theatre area and called in external pest control experts to completely eradicate the problem.”
All surgical procedures were stopped for one day, she said. Forty patients had their operations rescheduled.
Mrs Tomlinson added: “We have apologised to any patients affected for the inconvenience caused.”
Monitor and the Care Quality Commission are taking joint action against the trust, which was found to be in significant breach of its authorisation in September, because of its increasingly poor financial situation and concerns over breast cancer services.
The CQC is carrying out a “deep dive” inspection at the trust which has seen the resignation of chair Tracey Doucet and three non-executive board members.
The trust lost almost £6m in its first quarter of 2012 and warned it could run out of cash by January.
Last month 78 women received an apology after being recalled by King’s Mill Hospital following inaccurate breast cancer test results.
About 120 women were given false negative results which meant some of them would have benefited from treatment different to what they were given.