HOSPITALS have spent at least £500,000 buying maggots and other bugs in recent years.

Doctors say "medical-grade" maggots have been effective at healing wounds that are tough or impossible to treat with drugs. The maggots cost around 66p each and 300 of them can quickly clean a badly infected wound, leaving healthy tissue untouched.

Thousands of patients have had the treatment, with most reporting side-effects no worse than a little pain or occasionally feeling the bugs moving.

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Leeches are also being used in plastic surgery and transplants.