Today I had to visit the hospital to have my pre-operation check up to be ready for next week (if the Insurance company pull their fingers out).
This involved an ECG, taking bloods and taking the?
urine sample. On top of those, numerous swabs were also taken to test for the MRSA super bug.
Eight hours later my wife left for her night shift at the local NHS hospital only to get their to find the ward deserted. No staff, no patients and not even any lights were on. The ward had been shut and any remaining patients had been moved so that they could perform a deep clean from top to bottom of the whole ward. No new admissions are being taken and if you are on a ward that has people with the infection, you have to stay there until its gone.
Most of the hospital has been affected and apparently each ward will be shut in turn and a deep clean performed.
This time but it was not the super bug MRSA, rather one that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea (probably a form of Norovirus).
Incidentally, my oldest boy was off school all week because he had a bout of sickness and my middle boy and my daughter also had a day off school during the week due to sickness.
My wife was also unwell after her last round of shifts for a few days, and I have spent the last day or so feeling like I am coming down with something, (or rather that something is coming up).
Since my wife has been working at the hospital, I cannot remember a time when there has been at least one member of staff absent due to sickness.
The management changes made to our hospitals over the last few decades has led to more and more cost cuts which effectively ended the commitment to hygiene.
With each hospital responsible for their own ever decreasing budget, cuts had to be made and the tendering of cleaning contracts for ever decreasing charges has been the result. Yes, they promise to do this, and they promise to that, but when one bottle of disinfectant has to last a month, it can’t be done.
This has led to our hospitals becoming a haven for bugs. Gone are the days when you went to a hospital to get better, it almost seems that you take your life in your hands every time you go through the front door and that is not even considering the reason you are going there for.
In the case of MRSA, it should not affect many perfectly healthy people and in fact most of us are said to carry some form of the bug. The problem with hospitals is that they are full of sick people, whose immune systems are busier fighting off other factors without having to fend off a super bug as well.
When hepatitis became the new worry some years ago, all members of staff were given series of vaccines to help guard against infection.
With this new series of bugs, there is no protection other then cleanliness and since hospital administrators have reduced the cleaning contracts to such a low level, this is no longer possible.
When I was a child, (or when I were a lad in northern speak), it was the smell of hospitals that put the fear into me, (not the matrons, thought they came a close second).
These days floors are not swept or washed for days upon end and very rarely do they see disinfectant in strong enough solution to actually kill anything. Years ago, there wouldn’t be a spot of dirt on the ward, and even if it wasn’t dirty, it was cleaned.
So gone are the smells of the past, to be replaced by the bugs of the future. Whereas once we could at least detect the smell, we cannot do the same with the bugs that we are fighting today.
There can be no other course of action other than to bring back the cleaning teams that once patrolled the wards and would often catch the dirt before it hit the floor. Bring back the old disinfectant and lets put the ‘smell of fear’ back into hospital wards, I am sure it used to make the food taste better anyway. (Hospital food? a blog topic I might pass on to Jamie Oliver once he has finished getting our schools up to scratch. Now there is a campaign I wouldn’t mind helping out to).