"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Monday, January 10, 2005

Hospital cleanliness

Looking at this it seems that the powers that be have finally caught up with what anyone with half a brain has known for the past several years. Contracting out the cleaning of our hospitals has led to a drop in hygiene standards which is unacceptable. Of course, it is a pity they did not realise that these standards are unacceptably low before the MRSA superbug had killed an average of 5000 people each year, but there you are.
It has been obvious for years that withdrawing responsibility for cleaning from hospitals themselves was a big mistake. In the era of 'Matron' when she and ward sisters had direct responsibility over the cleaners, who were appointed and employed by the hospital, there was an incentive to keep cleaning standards high - woe betide those cleaners who didn't measure up! Now, cleaning companies bid for contracts, with the lowest priced winning the contract, the cleaners are given inadequate levels of training and supervision with unrealistic timescales.
I watched the same thing happening in school, although, obviously with far less damaging consequences. Once cleaning was contracted out, the caretakers (site managers as they are known as these days) no longer had responsibility for the cleaners as they had previously, supervisors were conspicuous by their absence and cleaning standards plummeted. In addition, what had formerly apparently needed 3 weeks to do in the summer break, can, it appears, now be done in 3 or 4 days.
In hospitals, the drop from 90,000 to 55,000 hospital cleaners over the last 15 years could only have added to the drop in standards.
Health Secretary John Reid, is quoted as saying that he has made it plain to hospital executives that 'cleanliness is not an optional extra.' Try telling that to the families who have lost a relative from MRSA or to those whose lives and health have been ruined by it.


gemmak said...

Bravo! Very well said, I agree entirely.

Jennyta said...

A topic close to my heart - my mum was a nurse and I did some children's nursing for a few months before I decided on teaching.


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